Speaking at the UK LMCs conference in Belfast, Dr Norris - who will stand down as GPC sessional GP subcommittee chair in June after three years - said the recent GP partnership review had not ‘made the case strongly enough’ for sessional GPs.
‘There has quite rightly been a big focus on investing in partnerships and on stablising current partners,’ she told delegates. ‘[But] it seems like we’ve missed this big workforce in the middle that are out there as potential recruits with a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge and skipped straight to newly qualified GPs who will be online in a couple of years.’
Dr Norris also criticised the ‘difficult rhetoric’ she observed from ‘some LMCs, the GPC and in the BMA’ surrounding sessional GPs, and called on general practice as a whole to ‘do better’ to include this key part of the workforce.
‘There are some LMCs in the UK who are struggling to engage with the sessional workforce and who maybe underestimate the importance of doing that,' she told the conference. 'It’s a continual source of frustration for me [that some LMCs] don’t seem to think they’re an important part of their work.’
Dr Norris closed her speech by urging LMCs not to be afraid to stand up to CCGs, health boards and NHS organisations in defence of their GP members - pointing out that LMCs should not tread lightly to 'keep a place at the table'. If they did their job correctly, LMCs could 'own the table', Dr Norris argued.
She said: ‘The relationship you have to maintain is with your doctors, with your constituents. You represent every single GP in your area. Without your help [NHS organisations] have no GPs, and they need to be made to remember that sometimes.’
GPonline reported last week that the BMA had published model terms and conditions to help locum GPs avoid disputes with practices over pay and work required of them.