Locum GPs should use social media to influence BMA

Social media can help locum and salaried GPs influence BMA policy and tackle professional isolation, the GPC's sessional GP committee chair has said.

GPC sessional subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Norris
GPC sessional subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Norris

Grassroots salaried and locum GPs working in isolation can use social media to get their voices heard and communicate 'rapidly' and in 'real time' with the GPC to ensure it better reflects the profession's concerns, according to sessional GP committee chair Dr Zoe Norris.

Dr Norris – who also sits on the GP Survival committee, a campaign group established via social media – told GPonline that improving communication between grassroots sessional GPs and the GPC was her top priority following her appointment as chair of the committee in August.

A raft of work has begun since then, she said, with the committee re-launching its newsletter and arranging meetings with other prominent locum groups, including the National Association of Sessional GPs (NASGP).

'We are making steady progress on a number of fronts,’ Dr Norris said. ‘Firstly, the new GPC executive has been proactive in approaching the sessional subcommittee, and the new structure of GPC is much more flexible at allowing me to use all skills within the subcommittee.

Social media

‘In the past, only the four executive members were able to be involved in GPC business. Now any member can contribute and attend meetings so we are utilising the skills available in our elected reps much more. We still need to see a GPC that is more reflective of the make-up of the profession and I wait to see if it becomes a reality with these recent changes.

‘We are re-launching the newsletter and now have Dr Rebecca Ellen Jones as the dedicated subcommittee member working on this. We have identified improving member communications as a main priority and Rebecca and Dr Matt Mayer are working with GPC, the BMA member relations and marketing team, as well as arranging meetings with other groups to look at ways of working together such as NASGP.'

GPs can also make use of social media to ensure they are heard, she added. 'Our Facebook and Twitter presence is increasing and I would encourage those sessional doctors who are comfortable to try engaging via these platforms as well as my email and websites.

'Social media is rapidly responsive and real time, and definitely helps us reach potentially isolated colleagues and provide valuable information. But we need to make sure those colleagues who aren't on social media can access content and support too.'

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