GPC overhauls sessional representation after loss of salaried negotiator

The GPC has invited a sessional GP to negotiating meetings to boost representation of locum and salaried GPs, after its only sessional negotiator was voted out earlier this month.

Dr Vicky Weeks: will attend GPC negotiator meetings
Dr Vicky Weeks: will attend GPC negotiator meetings

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey will also take on the sessional brief within the negotiating team in a move the BMA said reflected the 'continued and growing importance of sessional GPs, who make up an increasing proportion of the GP workforce'.

In addition, GPC sessional GP subcommittee chairwoman Dr Vicky Weeks will from next month begin 'regularly attending GPC negotiator meetings over the next year' to discuss salaried and locum issues with GPC negotiators.

However, National Association of Sessional GPs chief executive Dr Richard Fieldhouse said the measures to boost representation of locum and salaried GPs were 'too little too late' and called for further changes.

He said it was 'very sad' that Cornwall GP Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, the only female and only sessional negotiator, was voted off the GPC earlier this month.

Dr Fieldhouse said: ‘Here we are in 2012 and we have voted off the only sessional and only female GP. It is a PR problem and this is a PR solution. It is papering over the cracks. They have gone about it in a rather obtuse way to correct an issue that has already flowed upstream. It is too little too late.

Dr Fieldhouse said he had a great deal of respect for the GPC leadership, but added: ‘Unfortunately what the GPC still says to GPs is that GPs like Dr Beth McCarron-Nash can’t have a life in GP politics. We are just not getting enough sessional GPs coming into the GPC. Only 14% of GPs in their 30s are partners.

‘The BMA is in a very difficult position and it is something that it needs to keep reviewing. Currently only 80% of the GPC is male and partners and there should be a cohort of sessionals. Of the negotiators, one should be salaried and one should be a locum.’

Dr Vautrey said: ‘We think it is vitally important for the GPC to represent the views of all GPs. We have taken a number of steps to strengthen the involvement of sessional GPs in recent years, including a major review that led to a strengthened sessional GP subcommittee. We also have the opportunity to co-opt additional sessional GPs to the GPC itself if their numbers are under-represented for whatever reason.’

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