Editorial: White Paper is opportunity for locums to lead

There's a call to start identifying GP consortia leaders on the letters page of this week's GP newspaper.

Elsewhere in GP, Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chief executive of the National Association of Sessional GPs, argues that locum GPs' independence makes them best placed to lead commissioning consortia.

Last week, the RCGP's annual conference took place in Yorkshire, Dr Maureen Baker, the RCGP's lead on federations, points out that locums may benefit from federations by communicating with one federation rather than a large number of practices.

GP ran its first locums conference last week and impending revalidation has certainly been a major locum concern in recent months.

Dr Baker highlights that the benefits of group working include co-ordinated CPD and training.

The White Paper then is an opportunity for locums to lead and to benefit more easily from the revalidation that will be required of them.

The BMA is also making efforts to better represent locums after news broke last year that they were in talks with the Medical Practitioners' Union.

It's an exciting time to be a locum GP then, but Dr Fieldhouse is right to flag up an area of concern. He argues that, although many GPs working in high-profile management positions are locums, there is little evidence that PCTs are engaging young locums to join consortia.

It would seem sensible that locums should also be given the opportunity to use their consortia-wide knowledge to lead on commissioning. But how could GPs ever know that they have an appetite for such leadership without ever dipping a toe into related activity?

Step forward Dr Clare Gerada and her alternative model of general practice in south London helping to retain salaried staff and develop leadership.

Read how the RCGP chairman elect is enabling young doctors to gain experience in leadership.

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