General practitioner

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Secrets of success for sessional GPs

Here is a small quiz for sessional GPs:

1) Do you know when you should receive your contract?

2) Do you know what should be in your contract?

3) Do you know whether you are working for a practice with a GMS (general medical services) or a personal medical services contract and that there are differences that might affect you?

If you have answered ‘no’ to any or all of these questions, maybe you should register for October’s conference Sessional GPs: Redefining Success.*

The conference is part of the BMA’s continuing drive to provide strong representation for sessional GPs in recognition of their continued and growing importance. Locum and salaried GPs make up an increasing proportion of the GP workforce.

A helping hand

Working as a salaried or locum GP has its particular challenges, and the one-day conference aims to offer expert advice, practical information and guidance to support all sessional GPs in making the most of their careers.

There could be (almost) instant benefits from attending. BMA senior industrial relations officer Claire Ashley will be leading a plenary session on employment rights for sessional GPs and a parallel session on employment law and negotiating skills.

She has run similar sessions at previous conferences, and says: ‘There are tangible, practical benefits from attending.’

Following one conference, a number of salaried GPs in a practice realised they did not have much, or any, study leave. They used the tips they had picked up from the negotiating skills session to justify why they needed more.

Ms Ashley says: ‘They made the case for how a certain type of study activity could generate income for the practice and they could get on to the course they wanted.’

Sessional GPs attending October’s conference will learn about the role of job planning and how they can negotiate in this area.

Ms Ashley adds that the secret to good negotiation for sessional GPs ‘is all about preparation, having the [relevant] information to hand, the reasons why you are making the proposals, and the benefits to the practice’.

The conference will address other key issues including:

  • Pensions
  • GP commissioning and how sessional GPs can play a role in it
  • Appraisal and revalidation
  • Making successful career choices
  • Common challenges faced by sessional GPs.

Networking opportunities

There will also be opportunities for sessional GPs, who can experience professional isolation, to meet and build networks with other doctors in the same situation.

What are you waiting for? Book a place.

* For sessional GPs who cannot attend the conference, the answers are:

1) An employer has a legal duty to provide a salaried GP with a written ‘statement of particulars’ within two months of the latter starting work, as long as that employment lasts for at least one month

2) This statement should contain 15 specific pieces of information, including the names of the employer and the employee; the date when the employment began; remuneration and the intervals at which it is to be paid; hours of work; and holiday entitlement. In addition to the statement of particulars, the BMA strongly advises that a written contract of employment is issued and agreed before the job starts. The BMA has developed a model contract for salaried GPs.

3) Make sure you do. GMS practices must offer the BMA model contract, or terms no less favourable, to salaried GPs. The BMA has a contract-checking service.