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General practice in crisis
As you are all aware, a series of roadshows are currently taking place across Northern Ireland to discuss the escalating pressures on general practice. The roadshows are designed to gauge support among GPs for the proposed action of submitting mass undated resignations in response to continued Government inaction at meaningfully addressing the crisis in primary care.
As a sessional GP, you might be wondering how you could also show your support for this course of action and highlight to the Government how important it is for them to act urgently to save general practice. Locums and salaried GPs are obviously in a different situation, but we are all part of the same specialty and we all want to see improvements.
The undated resignation letters that GPs are signing in their droves at the various roadshow events are open to any GP to sign. This letter isn't a ‘resignation letter’ itself, but a statement making clear that that you, the GP, feel the acute pressures on the profession here and the continued Government inaction to address this leaves you little choice.
By signing this letter you are adding your support to the calls for more Government investment in general practice, so I would urge you to consider signing it. To receive a copy of the letter, please email the BMA’s Northern Ireland general practitioners committee (NIGPC). All you have to do is print a copy of the letter, sign it and post it back to BMA Northern Ireland’s headquarters at 16 Cromac Place, Belfast, BT7 2JB.
If anyone has any other suggestions about how sessionals can show support, please contact us and let us know your idea. You can email NIGPC, contact Mary McCloskey, or myself.
HSC Pension Service recently started a scheme that allows doctors to make payments towards their pension via direct debit, instead of sending cheques.
It was intended that this would be the only way of making your pension payments from October 2016 onwards, so hopefully everyone is aware of this and has sent on their direct debit details. However, I am aware that HSCNI is having some trouble contacting everyone about the changes, so if you haven’t signed up for the direct debit process yet and would like to, email and ask for the relevant forms and information.
Locum chambers for GPs
I’ve had one or two people ask recently about setting up a locum chambers for GPs in Belfast. If anyone else has any views on this, please email me.
Northern Ireland Sessional Doctors Association
We’re aware that sessional doctors are keen to take part in more training events for CPD purposes.
With that in mind, I would like to encourage as many sessional doctors as possible to consider joining the Northern Ireland Sessional Doctors Association (NISDA). The association runs training events, with the next one scheduled for early January on CPR. Non-members are welcome to attend this training, but are asked to pay a small fee. Keep an eye on the NISDA Facebook page for the confirmed training date, which should be finalised shortly.
NISDA relies on its membership to keep it going and help improve the education and peer support we offer, so we would be delighted to welcome any new volunteers to the NISDA committee. Any small, regular commitment of time towards our activities would really benefit the association as a whole. Committee members find the role personally rewarding as it provides an opportunity to practise new skills, network with other GPs and tick a few appraisal boxes.
Please feel free to let us know any suggestions for future events that you would find helpful.
Dr Conan Castles is a sessional GP representative for the Northern Ireland general practitioners committee