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This week new guidance has been released by NHS England’s Responsible Officer (RO) network to help the thousands of GPs up and down England who are working low numbers of clinical sessions. The guidance will bring clarity to the question “how many sessions must I work to remain on the Performers’ List” and should provide reassurance to many and help to stabilise a vital part of our workforce.
The guidance, which can be found here has been the product of a significant piece of collaborative work between the RO network, GMC, RCGP and the BMA. For the first time GPs in England now know that if they perform 40 sessions a year or more then they do not need to undertake any specific reflection on their practice other than those dictated by factors outside of work volume. This should provide reassurance to the many GPs working 50-100 clinical sessions per year who have expressed uncertainty about the rules and regulations relating to remaining up to date. It will also bring uniformity to practice and provide reassurance to patients and the system that consistent rules are being followed and applied.
Those doctors performing 40 clinical sessions a year or more simply complete their appraisal paperwork in the usual manner and are appraised in the same way as any other doctor. For those doctors performing fewer than 40 clinical sessions the requirement is now for them to complete a simple structured reflective template (SRT) with guidance on what factors are likely to mitigate any risk that might accrue from this type of work pattern. This SRT should then be submitted as a Quality Improvement Activity (QIA) and discussed with the appraiser in the usual manner.
This will provide the system, the public, the appraiser and the GP with assurance that they continue to practice safely and will remove the burden of anxiety and doubt from the many hard working and able GPs who choose to work lower numbers of clinical sessions, recognising that many also carry out other roles alongside this retained clinical commitment. This will provide a much needed boost to our beleaguered workforce and provide everyone with clarity. We are especially pleased that the work we have concluded
The collaborative approach that has been adopted by NHSE, the Royal College and the BMA has been a significant factor in agreeing these guidelines and the group has moved on to other regulatory grey areas. We hope in the near future to publish guidelines to the profession regarding how doctors who choose to go abroad for a period might retain links with the UK in order to facilitate their later return.
Really? A "significant" piece of work?? Surely only destined to support those GPs who find committee roles preferable to real work and gather dust on the shelves of those real professionals under pressure and delivering the work daily. GPCUK still fiddling whilst Rome burns...
Fine as far as it goes but doesn't fully address what clinical work "counts" for general practice--urgent care centre? out of hours? enhanced support for vulnerable populations (homeless/prisoners/frail)? community hospitals? Or a GP working in an area with a nationally unrepresentative age demographic?
One omission, as far as I can see, is any definition of what a session is. How should I count my twelve hour shifts at a walk in centre? The MDU classes that as three sessions.
I think the 'fiddling while Rome burns' comment is a bit unfair. This measure should support those of us who have retired from full time practice but are still doing some work to support the 'real (sic) professionals under pressure '.
I am grateful to have opened this discussion. This question is quite interesting to me. Finally the answer was found
Thank you this is useful however I agree it doesn’t clarify what counts as a session. I undertake 4 clinical sessions a week within the substance misuse sector dealing with complex physical and mental health needs. Currently this is not recognised by my RO. I need to do 40 additional primary care sessions in addition
I feel this is unrealistic given I work 8 sessions a week and do struggle to fit it
I Accept and actually enjoy keeping my hand in with usual GP sessions but I do not understand the rationale about what counts and what doesn’t
Has anyone managed to clarify what counts as a session? Also does this translate the same for GP work in Scotland and Northern Ireland?