Why job plans are essential for sessional GPs

Job planning should mean a GP’s workload is fair and achievable. There are tools to help you ensure it, writes sessional GPs committee member Bethan Roberts

Location: UK
Published: Friday 7 June 2024
Beth Roberts

Agreeing appropriate job plans is a vital yet often overlooked part of managing workload. There is little to be gained in agreeing a suitable number of sessions if the work itself is unreasonable or unattainable during that time.

We know that many salaried GPs are working way beyond their contracted hours; a significant number of these cases will be related to poor job planning.

The job plan is a mutually agreed pattern of work – for the employer and employee to agree together – to map out the employee’s usual working day. The job plan needs to include realistic and attainable working activities during the time allocated to them. Emergencies may not always be included in job plans, but if dealing with unexpected or urgent matters at the end of a normal working day becomes routine, this should be incorporated into a job plan.

The job plan can be reviewed on request at any time, if it becomes apparent that the work is consistently taking longer than the allocated/contracted time. Any changes to the job plan would need to be mutually agreed by both parties, and we would recommend that both parties keep a record of the agreed plan.

The BMA has recently launched the GP Diary tool, which can be used by salaried GPs to record their normal working day. The tool can be accessed by logging into the BMA website, and belongs to the individual doctor/BMA member. Working activities can be logged over a period of time and reports generated to demonstrate the work being done.

It will be up to the individual doctor to use the tool as they wish – the BMA will not share any data but will merely provide the tool for recording their work activities. For example, a salaried GP can use it to generate reports that they can share with their employer, to help draft appropriate job plans.

By tracking their work and actively participating in these conversations, salaried GPs can ensure their workload is fair, achievable and safe for patients.


Bethan Roberts is a member of the BMA sessional GPs committee