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BMA unveils representation drive for salaried GPs and locums

By Gareth Iacobucci

The GPC has unveiled the latest phase of its drive to improve the representation of salaried and locum doctors, as it strives to curb the growing divide in the profession.

The committee's working group, whose creation was hastened after a rebel group of disgruntled sessional GPs threatened to quit the BMA earlier this year, is to carry out a national survey of LMCs, salaried and locum GPs, to examine representational problems facing sessional doctors at grassroots level.

The results of the survey will feed into forthcoming GPC guidance to LMCs, which will outline a ‘gold standard' of best practice that LMCs should look to achieve to ensure that LMC membership reflects all GPs.

Possible advice that may be offered to LMCs could include co-opting a certain number of sessional members, based on how many they have on their performers list, or having seats on LMCs reserverd for sessional doctors.

The BMA's focus on the salaried-partner divided has become increasingly urgent in recent months, following Pulse's revelation in August that a sizeable number of sessional GPs were considering defecting to the Medical Practioners Union, after becoming dissillusioned with the ‘inherent conflict' in the GPC representing both partners and the doctors they employ.

Dr Beth McCarron Nash, GPC negotiator, salaried GP in Cornwall, and a member of the working group, said that improving the representation of salaried GPs and locums was one of the BMA's top priorities in the coming year.

‘Its certainly something the GPC considers a priority for this year. It's not something we're just going to do on the hoof, it needs to be properly investigated and we need to engage with our membership and find out what's happening at the moment so we can improve on that.'

Dr McCarron Nash said that while some LMCs already had strong representation of sessional doctors, others had to work harder to increase the number of salaried and local GPs standing in elections and representing their colleagues at a local level.

‘In some areas, it's hard for any person to be elected to certain LMCs,' she admitted.

Dr Mir Malkani, a salaried GP and locum in the West Midlands who left the BMA due to its lack of support for sessional doctors, said he remained sceptical about its ability to act for sessional doctors, but acknowledged that giving them a stronger voice on LMCs could address some of his concerns.

‘If locum and salaried GPs were on LMCs more, they may be able to make a lot more noise about this,' he said.

Dr Beth McCarron Nash

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