Locum and salaried GPs excluded from NHS planning because of huge data gaps

The lack of data on the sessional GP workforce means they are being excluded from major decisions on future workload and new models of care, the BMA has warned.

Locum and salaried GPs are not equal to their GP partner colleagues because there is no comprehensive data on how many there are in the UK, how they work or how often they work, chair of the GPC sessional GP committee Dr Zoe Norris has warned.

Her comments came as a BMA sessional survey aims to provide evidence that sessional GPs are ‘part of the solution, not the problem’ to the GP crisis.

Dr Norris told GPonline that the current lack of data was driving the inequalities facing salaried and locum GPs. Currently, there is no comprehensive data on the number of sessional GPs working in the UK, how they work or how many sessions – amounting to a ‘massive chunk of missing information’.

‘There isn't equality in terms of the quality of data,’ she added. ‘All the workforce information is based on partners and decisions are being made on future workforce and new models of care without sufficient knowledge or understanding of the sessional workforce.

Sessional GPs

‘We need to know about working patterns, the type of roles sessional doctors are doing, what factors affect their working and personal lives and how they want to be represented.’

Writing in a BMA blog, Dr Norris – herself a locum GP – said: ‘There isn’t equality for salaried and locum GPs. There just isn’t. And I need figures and data to back that up. I need to be able to make demands on your behalf and wave these results to show how you feel about the problem. Otherwise it’s just one mad locum ranting to a room.’

All sessional GPs – including locums, salaried, out-of-hours, prison GPs and portfolio GPs – have until the end of this week to respond to the BMA sessional survey, set to be the biggest ever of sessional GPs.

It covers the roles sessional GPs undertake, contractual arrangements, earnings and expenses, workload, morale and wellbeing.

Click here to take part in the BMA sessional survey

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