Supporting sessional GPs using the BMA model contract

by Clare Bannon

Using the BMA model contract can benefit GP partners, salaried GPs and patients

Location: UK
Published: Friday 7 June 2024
clare bannon

We all know how difficult general practice is at the moment and that practices are being starved of the funds they need to provide the care that our patients deserve. As a GP partner for the last 12 years, I didn’t think about the BMA GP model contract until I became involved with my local medical committee and more recently GPs committee.

When I became managing partner of my practice five years ago, I had the opportunity to review what we were offering our salaried GPs – it wasn’t good enough and needed to change. Now as a practice we pride ourselves not just on offering the GP model contract, but in our discussions with our salaried GPs, ensuring that a job plan supports their wellbeing.

I have seen first-hand the benefits not only for our salaried GPs but for the team. I believe it has helped us to flourish as a practice, allowing innovation, cohesiveness and ultimately better care for our patients.

Traditionally, Barnsley, which is where my practice is based, has really struggled with recruitment, despite significant health needs. Most local GPs live in the city of Sheffield and often feel forced to work closer to home rather than add to their already busy schedule with a longer commute. However, ensuring our salaried GPs have a robust job plan as part of their  BMA model contract has helped both retention and recruitment.

One of the first GPs I recruited was choosing between us and another practice closer to home and she asked, ‘Why should I come here its further away and the pay is the same?’ I answered, ‘Because you will have a good contract, and job plan that enables you to develop your interests and have a good work-life balance.’

A few months later that GP said we were right – she is still with us six years later, in fact she has just become a partner. By utilising the model contract well, I have no doubt it has allowed us to retain GPs, in turn improving patient continuity and our GP to patient ratio. In Barnsley this is hugely important in enabling us to provide better care and reduce health inequalities.

Along with my GP partners, we have a strong practice ethos of protecting our own wellbeing and ensuing a good work-life balance. When we look after our own wellbeing, we are better able to treat and support our patients. As a partner, I strongly feel implementing the BMA model contract for our salaried GPs has supported that ethos. After all, if as GPs we do not show that we value our salaried colleagues how can we expect the Government and the public to value GPs as a profession?


Clare Bannon is GP partner in Barnsley, medical secretary of Barnsley LMC and GPC representative for South Yorkshire

Advice and support is available to both partners and sessional GP members from the BMA on contracts of employment. For new employment advice queries, please use this employment advice form