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One of the most fulfilling roles I have carried out over my 15 years as a GP is chairing the NESG (North East sessional GPs) group.
When I qualified in 2000, I was shocked by how isolating it was making the transition from training to sessional work, despite this being a popular career choice. Joining my local sessional GP group provided vital peer support, networking opportunities and ready access to vacancies (both clinical and non-clinical), but education was a huge issue due to lack of information, isolation and the active exclusion of locums.
I got involved in running the group in 2004 because I felt it could be doing so much more, and became its chairman in 2008. My deanery role supporting sessional GPs provided a vital network of educator contacts, which helped improve access to education and enabled me to run an educational programme dedicated to sessional GPs.
You only have to look at the testimonials on our website to see the crucial role the group plays in supporting GPs who are transitioning to sessional work after qualifying from GP Vocational Training Scheme (VTS) switching to different roles (such as senior clinical commissioning group management), or relocating from another area – all challenging moves that might otherwise result in valuable staff leaving general practice.
Our group has nearly 400 members now – up from just 40 when I joined. It cascades 47 vacancies a month (practices love our service) and advertises around 25 educational events at any one time. Peer support is via members’ meetings, monthly lectures and an annual social event attended by around 50 members each year. NESG members benefit hugely from belonging to a group with such a wide diversity of ages, experiences and portfolios.
Our group is run by a small, democratically appointed executive group. We’ve worked hard to achieve this model by commissioning a website (three times in 10 years!) to manage our membership, vacancies and events, and working continuously to recruit members to our executive group.
Our group was used to test revalidation proposals as part of an RCGP funded feasibility project test revalidation proposals and we have participated in a Royal Medical Benevolent Fund project titled ‘Support for sessional GPs’. The GMC also wrote one of their revalidation case reviews about our group and the support it offers, and we have provided a platform for more than 30 self-directed GP learning groups, which provide vital appraisal and revalidation support.
You can find out about your local sessional GPs group on the BMA website, or through your local education and training board, the National Association of GPs or your First5 RCGP group. Why not get involved?
Paula Wright is a Salaried GP in Gateshead, Chair of the North East Sessional GP Group and the Northern regional representative on the Sessional GP Subcommittee of GPC
How come you haven't mentioned locum chambers? I joined one 2 years ago after having locumed by myself for years. I used to belong to a group like you describe and it was lovely, but only when we met. With the chambers I'm in it's like much more being like in a practice and you get LOADS of support. Google 'NASGP chambers' and they have loads on their website about it.
Hi there, Thanks for your comment. I agree chambers are a great model of working however this blog is about personal experiences and I have no personal experience of chambers. It sounds like you do though so perhaps you would like to share your experience and write a blog yourself about chambers ?
If you would like to write a blog about chambers just contact the office on [email protected]
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