Representation of sessional GPs at LMCs under scrutiny

BMA Working party to advise GPC on involving salaried GPs and locums.

Dr Mark Selman
Dr Mark Selman

A GPC working party set up to investigate representation of sessional GPs will put LMC structures under the spotlight, its chairman says.

Dr Mark Selman, a locum in Devon and chairman of the new GP sessional working party, said he was keen to look at how representation at LMC level could be improved.

Of 14 LMCs that replied to a query from GP about representation of salaried GPs, most agreed their leadership was dominated by partners. Just one said it had more than one or two sessionals as elected representatives.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chairman of the National Association of Sessional GPs (NASGP) said although he agreed LMC representation was an issue, he felt the working party's real decision was between whether the BMA should set up a separate craft committee or keep non-principals within the GPC structure.

However, Dr Selman said he felt that was too simplistic.

'We have looked at the idea of a separate craft committee before, many times. There are numerous pros and cons - the financial side becomes difficult and we are left out of the main negotiating process. There are a lot of downsides.'

Dr Fieldhouse said he wanted to urge the working party to be 'brave and bold'.

'If it elects to stay within the GPC then it needs to make sure it has really canvassed opinion widely among sessional and salaried GPs,' he said.

Dr Rachel McMahon, a salaried GP in Cleveland and former GPC member, said she was in favour of a separate craft committee within the BMA.

'Within the GPC, the topics of debate are out of proportion, focused on the needs of partners compared with the needs of salaried GPs.'

It was also difficult to have faith that GP partners would negotiate the best possible contract for the salaried GPs they employed, she added.

However, she agreed the LMC representation structure needed to be looked at 'as at a local level I do think there is more benefit in doctors being able to work together'.

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