Sessional GPs vital to CCGs says RCGP

Published on Friday, 16 March 2012 14:45
Posted by Scott Buckler

Engaging sessional GPs in clinically-led commissioning is the aim of a pair of surveys launched as part of a new project from the RCGP

The surveys, one aimed at sessional GPs and the other at those working in emerging Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) seek to identify best practice and models of inclusion, engagement and leadership, and to uncover the existing barriers preventing these things.

 The project is being run in collaboration with representatives from the Department of Health, General Practitioners Committee (GPC) of the BMA, Committee of General Practice Education Directors (COGPED), Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans (COPMED), Family Doctor Association (FDA), National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), National Association of Sessional GPs (NASGP) and the NHS Alliance.

 A sessional GP is one who is a fully qualified GP but not a partner in a practice. Sessional GP is a term used to refer to general practitioners who work as locums, are salaried or on a retainer.

 Sessional GPs can confer many benefits to the emerging CCGs as they:

  •     represent a large and growing group of GPs
  •     have the broad range of skills available from portfolio career
  •     bring diversity and different perspectives
  •     may have the capacity to work flexibly
  •     will know many practices and patient populations in an area


 RCGP Honorary Secretary Professor Amanda Howe said: “Successful clinically-led commissioning depends on engagement and input from the whole practice team. Sessional GPs currently make up between 25 and 50 per cent of the GP workforce, but they often do not have the same access to service development roles as do GP principals.

Sessional GPs are often able to bring a unique perspective to the table, and their insights into the healthcare needs of a particular population will help emerging CCGs to identify and better provide the best possible care to their patients”.

 Dr Susan Stone, Project Clinical lead, said: “There are examples of good practice; in some areas, sessional GPs are already sitting on the emerging governing bodies and leading commissioning projects. Yet in others, they are entirely excluded, and unable to vote in elections. It is this variation that this new project seeks to confront and rectify.”

 The surveys are aimed at sessional GPs and CCG leads. They are open until 6 April. While this issue currently affects only those living and working in England, the College and its project partners welcome any input from any of the other devolved nations.

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