GPC must end 'disconnect' with locum and salaried GPs, says new sessional chair

GPC sessional commitee chairwoman Dr Zoe Norris has highlighted improving communication between locum and salaried GPs and the GPC as her top priority, to ensure grassroots doctors have a greater voice in key decisions for the profession.

Dr Zoe Norris at the special LMCs conference in London earlier this year
Dr Zoe Norris at the special LMCs conference in London earlier this year

Dr Norris, who was appointed to the position last month, told GPonline that there seemed to be a 'massive disconnect' between locum and salaried GPs and the leaders of the profession.

She said that there was 'a recognition that we need to look at how we communicate with busy working GPs', and that improving this would be her number one priority in the role.

‘I want every salaried or locum GP to know who they should contact about any problems, and be confident they will get a quick and relevant response,' said Dr Norris. ‘All too often huge decisions are made about general practice without sessional doctors being heard. That has to change.’

She also committed to ‘push hard’ on indemnity. ‘It's the single biggest issue for all GPs that comes up over and over again. I don't want to spend three years putting small sticking plasters over the challenges we are facing.

Read more: Dr Norris backs GP chambers

‘Solving the indemnity crisis is within the government's power if they are serious about keeping general practice sustainable and ensuring the longevity of the NHS. I want to see them put their money where their mouth is.’

Her comments came shortly before an announcement from NHS England that it would invest £60m over the next two years to help offset any rises in indemnity fees over this time period for GPs.

But it confirmed this funding will be paid out to practices, leading many locum GPs to raise concerns that they would be excluded from this arrangement.

GP locum workforce

Dr Norris added that it was ‘beyond ludicrous’ that there is no official headcount of locum GPs working in England, as previously highlighted by GPonline.

‘How can we have no idea what half the GP workforce is doing?’ she said. ‘You can't even begin to talk about forward views if you have no clue as to the resources you have (or not!).

‘It is beyond ludicrous and I will be asking for the professions help to improve this. If NHS England are unable to gather the data that is desperately needed, perhaps we can have a go instead.’

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