Sessional GPs seeking ways to support list-closure industrial action

Sessional GP leaders are investigating how they could take action to support partners in potential industrial action without impacting on practices.

BMA sessional GP subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Norris (Photo: JH Lancy)

The BMA’s sessional GP subcommittee is looking for feedback on how salaried and locum GPs could take action alongside partners should they vote to close their lists, its chair Dr Zoe Norris has said.

But she said that withdrawing service provision was not on the cards, as this would impact partners instead of the government.

It comes after GP partners voted that they would be prepared to take co-ordinated list closure action in an indicative ballot posed by the BMA last month.

Just over half (54%) of practices indicated they would be willing to temporarily suspend new patient registrations and apply to formally close their list if the situation in general practice does not improve.

A further ballot must take place to confirm whether eventual action will take place.

Dr Norris said the sessional GP subcommittee was looking into how locum and salaried GPs could also take a stand take alongside this if practices do ultimately take action.

Salaried and locum GPs are ‘just as unhappy’ with the current lack of investment in primary care, but it does not seem to have been considered that they could also take action, she said.

Industrial action

She told GPonline: ‘I feel very aware that partners face many challenges in carrying out any form of disruption or industrial action because of their unique contractual status. All the discussions about collective action have focused on partners, but they are often in an impossible position.

‘Salaried and locum GPs are as unhappy about the current lack of investment in primary care, but it doesn't seem to have been considered that we could take action, albeit in a different form.

‘The main challenge is that for many of us, our employers are our colleagues in partnership. Clearly, any action sessionals took must not cause additional work or problems for partners – our argument, like theirs, is with the government.

‘Any action would therefore need to look past the obvious withdrawal of service provision. Wanting to look at what action we could take is so we can back up our contractor colleagues, not make their situation worse.

‘All we have asked so far is for feedback and ideas from sessionals. We will as always be guided by the doctors we represent.’

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