Sole practitioner Richard Harwood outlined the proposals, but on a show of hands the concept was rejected by two thirds of the delegates.
Harwood, who had been appointed ‘champion’ of the general practice faculty, argued that general practice was as much a specialism as tax, IT and audit, all of which had their separate institute faculties devoted to them.
He said the faculty would be able to provide many services to small and sole practitioners including technical, ethical, regulatory and disciplinary support, as well as acting as a representative voice for general practitioners.
Harwood also said it be a possible refuge for those who might leave the audit faculty following the increase of the statutory audit threshold to £1m.
However some delegates saw the move as away of raising additional finance for the institute, an accusation denied by Harwood.
Delegates maintained that some of the services included in the proposal were currently available to members free of charge, and that other services could be accessed through the existing faculties.
One delegate said: ‘I’m intrigued that the institute is still pushing ahead with the idea even though research conducted by the institute failed to demonstrate support for the faculty.’
Harwood said further research was being undertaken during the autumn and that if results were positive the institute would aim to launch the faculty in spring 2001.
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