Sessionals back plans to boost representation

Sessional GPs have welcomed BMA plans to bolster their representation, but warned that changes to partners' attitudes would take time.

Dr Weeks: 'We believe these reforms will address the concerns of sessional GPs' (Photograph: JH Lancy)
Dr Weeks: 'We believe these reforms will address the concerns of sessional GPs' (Photograph: JH Lancy)

The GPC has announced a raft of reforms aimed at bolstering the voice of sessional GPs. The move follows a survey which found that 51 per cent of sessional GPs are unhappy with how the profession addresses their concerns.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chief executive of the National Association of Sessional GPs, said he was 'excited and pleased' by the GPC's direction. But he warned that changes would take time.

'This is not true independence, but it is a big step towards giving sessional GPs autonomy about the issues that directly affect them,' he said.

'But there are a lot of wounds to heal. It will take a long time to deliver and the GPC will have to really commit to achieving this.'

The series of changes to the way sessional GPs are represented were revealed in a report from the GPC Sessional GPs Working Group. The GPC hopes the report will 'provide a real impetus for change'.

The GPC said it would delegate authority to the Sessional GPs Subcommittee (SGPS) to ensure sessional GP representatives act on matters primarily relating to sessional GPs.

Under the plans the size of SGPS will double to 16 members, and an SGPS executive committee will be formed. This committee will meet regularly with the GPC negotiating team.

The GPC Sessional GPs Working Group said new LMC guidance would ensure sessional GPs are adequately represented locally, after the survey found many felt LMCs were biased towards GP partners.

Dr Vicky Weeks, chairman of the GPC Sessional GPs Subcommittee, said: 'We believe these reforms will address the concerns of sessional GPs, but they are by no means the end of the process.

'As part of the continuing work of the SGPS we are going to keep under review how these changes work in practice.'

She added: 'It is vitally important that sessional GPs take advantage of these developments.'

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