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Last month I attended the conference of English LMCs in London. Most of the topics discussed were about the structures and commissioning of primary care. A themed debate on partnership models was held after Dr Nigel Watson, the independent chair of the partnership review, had addressed the conference.
As sessional chair, I have been sitting on the working group to provide input to the partnership review. I have been stressing at every stage that, if it is to have any value, it must talk and listen to the sessional workforce. Many of us have been partners, and increasingly we now constitute very diverse groups of the workforce – from newly qualified, first5 and mid-career to late career doctors.
After a debate, a vote was held on four statements:
I don't know where the conference felt sessional GPs fitted into each of these statements, and I have yet to have a sense of where we will fit into the partnership review. The message still needs repeating: because a GP chooses to do anything other than a 10-session partnership, they are not any less than a vital member of the profession.
Changes to out-of-hours services, increased extended access, and the rise of online services are all primarily staffed by GPs working as sessionals – LMCs, CCGs, STPs and the new ICSs all need to look again at how the voice of sessional GPs is represented, if at all.
In this month’s newsletter, Ben Molyneux, an executive member of the GPC sessional GPs subcommittee talks you through the new guidance on working under atypical contracts for sessional GPs. New roles are advertised and offered every day, but very few fit the traditional employed description. Often the contracts are not model salaried contracts for a variety of reasons and it can feel overwhelming to know where to start to ensure you are protected. Ben's guidance will help you decide if this is the right thing for you to do. We hope that the GPC will build on this and recognise that it affects a vast number of GP colleagues.
Krishan Aggarwal, deputy chair of the GPC sessional GPs subcommittee, further updates us on pensions – the latest in the ongoing saga, and what you should be doing. Please read and share this widely – it is a continual battle to keep pressure up on NHSE and NHS Pensions. It is vital that we each know our rights.
As ever, keep in touch and if you have examples of problems as a sessional, relating to any of the things mentioned in this month’s newsletter or generally, please email us at [email protected]
Zoe Norris is chair of the GPC sessional GPs subcommittee
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