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As a sessional GP working in Scotland, it is counterintuitive to say that the most significant thing affecting our part of the profession is Scotland’s new GMS contract. But the significance of the new contract goes far beyond its impact on GP contract holders and as implementation accelerates, it will have more and more significance for sessional GPs.
The new contract sees workload moving away from GPs, as an expanded multidisciplinary team increasingly takes on responsibility for pharmacotherapy, delivering immunisations, treatment and care services including chronic disease monitoring, a musculoskeletal service, and changes to urgent care arrangements. This transition will take place over three years and will allow GPs to focus on contributing to patient care in ways which make the best use of our skills. As expert medical generalists, we will focus more on providing complex care in the community, managing undifferentiated presentations and in taking a central role in whole system quality improvement through our clinical leadership skills.
As we move forward with contract implementation, we are clear that, wherever possible, training and development opportunities to attain the skills needed for this revised role should be accessible to all GPs. This means for instance through providing sessional payments rather than backfill and through promotion of such opportunities to Sessional GPs.
The importance of Sessional GPs working in salaried positions in a wide range of circumstances is recognised in Scotland’s new GP contract which specifies that no salaried GP should be on terms less favourable than the BMA Model Contract.
Our overriding goal is to protect general practice and the NHS in Scotland by attracting and retaining GPs. The intention is that GP partners will be more confident about workload expectations and income and carry reduced risk. Improved sustainability of practices and better working conditions will make working in any capacity in general practice in Scotland a better experience. Sessional GPs will be working in a system that has much needed resilience, contributing our expertise and able to move between roles as personal circumstances and choice dictates.
There is a great deal for us to do as a negotiating team to realise the full potential of these changes and I am fully aware of the part that Sessional GPs play in delivering care to patients in Scotland. I know that sessional GPs need to be informed and involved in developments and I will do my utmost to continue this.
Patricia Moultrie is the deputy chair of GPC in Scotland.
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