Sessionals 'need commissioning role'

The health White Paper should offer sessional GPs a chance to become involved with consortia, according to the leader of their representative body.

Dr Weeks would like to see sessional GPs involved in commissioning  (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)
Dr Weeks would like to see sessional GPs involved in commissioning (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)

Dr Vicky Weeks, chairman of the GPC's sessional GPs subcommittee, said sessional GPs should not just be filling in for partners undertaking new roles.

'There are lots of opportunities in the White Paper and I would be interested in seeing sessional GPs become involved with commissioning bodies, not just as salaried GPs with partners doing the work,' she said.

Dr Weeks spoke to GP as the sessional GPs subcommittee sought nominations to double its members from eight to 16.

This was among proposals to improve representation of sessionals in a report by the Sessional GPs Working Group, backed by this year's LMCs conference and BMA annual representatives meeting.

The report also called for more GPC seats for sessional subcommittee members and an executive group within the subcommittee to meet regularly with GPC negotiators.

Dr Weeks thinks sessionals were right not to aim to split the profession by seeking their own BMA craft committee.

'We have seen the rise of portfolio GPs who may be salaried, go on to GPSI work or become partners,' she said. 'They could be educationalists who become involved with medical politics. There is a tremendous mixing of workforce. I am not quite sure whether splitting off would be truly representative.'

A problem consistently raised by sessionals is their frustration at the lack of partnership opportunities available to them.

Dr Weeks said whether the DoH should incentivise practices to offer partnerships was a matter for contract negotiations.

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