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Last month I did something that felt like I have finally got the hang of this chairing business - I invited colleagues from a range of other groups who represent GPs, to talk about the challenges that salaried, locum and other sessional GPs face. More importantly, can we work together and do a better job at making sure sessional voices are heard in all our organisations.
Thank you to; Professor Mayur Lakhani and Danielle Fisher from RCGP, Dr Richard Fieldhouse and Dr Sara Chambers from NASGP, Barbara Compitus from GP Survival, Stephanie de Giorgio from Resilient GP, Michael Smith from the National Association of Primary Care and Dr Peter Swinyard and Moira Auchterlonie from the Family Doctor Association, for coming along and sharing their thoughts. We talked about the stark realities of being a locum or salaried GP in a system under pressure, and that we are often viewed as part of the problem by both policy makers. For more information, do visit their pages linked above.
There is always history behind the relationships between different groups, all of whom represent doctors in different ways. But recognising that the crisis in general practice won't be helped and can only be worsened by us pulling in different directions was surprisingly easy. We will continue to talk and work together where a single voice is needed for salaried and locum GPs. Hopefully the louder it is, the more we will be listened to.
One of the areas we covered was the long-standing problem with locums accessing NHS email addresses. This has been a problem since the beginning of time, and we are finally making real progress. To the extent that we need GPs who are having or have had problems getting these emails to get in touch to test the new system being proposed by NHS England. I will post this on social media as well but please spread the word - this is so key to making sure locums remain connected, can access vital information and services, and can have the same educational and career opportunities as all other GPs.
I spent the afternoon with other members of the subcommittee in a meeting with the BMA who are looking to improve their services and membership offers for sessional GPs. We spent time highlighting the differences between us and other groups of doctors, as well as our position of being elected by all sessional GPs whether they are BMA members or not. We were very clear in what needs to change, both externally and internally, and will wait to see if we can work with the BMA to achieve this.
If you want an update on an area we haven’t covered recently, or that you think we should look at, please get in touch. We will soon be publishing a piece of work on sessional GPs in CCGs following a freedom of information act request, and I am working alongside Dr Krishna Kasaraneni from GPC to give information to the partnership review requested by the Secretary of state. Dr Nigel Watson who is leading this, has asked for sessional involvement recognising that the partnership model affects all GPs, and those who have left or never wished to join it, need to be listened to.
I will keep you updated.
Zoe Norris is chair of the sessional GP subcommittee
Follow her on Twitter @dr_zo
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