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What have I done for sessional GPs?
I believe in maintaining active engagement with grassroots sessional GPs rather than simply being immersed in the national politics of the BMA, GPC, LMCs or social media.
The North East Sessional GP group (NESG), which I chaired for eight years, provides information on vacancies, educational events and an educational programme for sessional GPs, as well as a community for peer support.
The group has grown from 60 members to 400 during my time developing and leading it, and this has also enabled it to have a strong sessional voice locally. The regular contact with sessionals means I can keep them abreast of national developments as well as easily pass on grassroots concerns to the national committee.
The existence of a well-established group made it possible for us to be the focus of an RCGP-funded pilot on the feasibility of revalidation for sessional GPs. This highlighted the problems of expecting sessional GPs to jump through hoops designed with partners in mind (audit, practice based SEA and so on). As a consequence, RCGP proposals on revalidation have been revised to take on board the sessional perspective.
NESG was also a platform for a study by the RMBF on ‘support for sessional GPs’ which confirmed the continuing problems of professional isolation amongst sessional GPs and the value that sessional GP groups and learning groups offer to counter this. A GMC case study showcased how NESG provides essential support to help locums get through revalidation.
Over the years I have supported leaders of other sessional GP groups and have shared my experience through GPC guidance on developing sessional groups and a BMJ Careers publication. I continue to produce local newsletters and to keep the group’s website updated and liaise with our LMC and regional GPC on current issues like indemnity and pensions.
I have supported the development of tools for sessional GPs to use in appraisal, drawing on experience as tutor and appraiser (for example a portfolio of non-audit quality improvements) with most recent guidance made relevant to sessional GPs in this blog. Recently I have been contributing to a national working party redesigning the retainer scheme, feeding in my experience of running our local scheme.
I have written guidance documents (how to develop your sessional GP group, job planning, in-house performance review, and the locum fee calculator tool and handbook chapters in the salaried and locum GP handbooks (e.g. ‘building networks’) and also contributed to the recent FAQs on locum chambers. My survey has highlighted how our sessional GP group can help retain GPs in the workforce (video) and a provided valuable insights into how locums choose their practices (video) and other aspects of locum work.
Looking to the future:
Paula Wright is the North east representative for sessional GPs
Follow her on Twitter @PFW69
Our Swansea group tried facebook but I think our whatsapp group is more effective - might be something you'd like to consider?
Thank you Swansea colleague. With 400 members in our sessional GP group I think whatsapp would be too cumbersome and labourious to handle membership and too intrusive once it got going. I do use whatsapp for smaller groups
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