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When asked to write my blog for the ‘meet your rep’ section of the sessional GP newsletter, I was wondering what exactly I should say? How do you encapsulate 20 years on the sessional GPs subcommittee and convey what still keeps me representing sessional GP issues in 400 or so words?
Apart from a short interlude in the mid-80s when I was in partnership, I have been a sessional GP most of my career. I have worked as a locum, a salaried GP, a portfolio GP and been on the retainer and flexible career schemes.
I have been elected to the subcommittee since 1997, and been privileged to be chair for several years, during which we saw the development of the subcommittee from the original eight persons to 16, which guaranteed regional representation across the UK and places on the GPC.
It is also hard to think of a world without the salaried model contract, where salaried GPs went from one job to the next without any continuity of service, and hence no maternity or sickness leave except the statutory minimum; but that was the way it was.
I am proud of my educationalist credentials, which have seen me work as a GP tutor for the then-London Deanery. This gave me the opportunity to engage in educational leadership as a facilitator for appraiser learning sets, and supported my engagement with appraisal and revalidation.
I also looked after the retainer and flexible career schemes GPs across north-west London and retention of the GP workforce has always been an interest and focus. I have always viewed LMCs as a key representative structure for sessional GPs and have been on the Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow LMC since 1997. I am also the medical director for north central London at Londonwide LMCs, which involves a wide range of responsibilities, representing the needs of GPs as providers.
The work of the subcommittee has gone from strength to strength and important areas for me remain representation of sessional GPs and appraisal and revalidation. However, one of my key areas of interest is new models of care and accountable care organisations.
With the development of new ways of working within accountable care systems, such as super-partnerships or MCPs, the role of the sessional GP remains, in most cases, marginalised. These models of delivering population-based healthcare impacts upon the whole of the sessional GP workforce. The commissioning for such service delivery will not be via a GMS or PMS route so the contractual option for a salaried GP will not be via the salaried model contract.
So, despite all these years, there is still much more work to do and I remain committed to sessional GPs and their cause.
Vicky Weeks is an executive member of the sessional GPs subcommittee
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