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GP services 'swap-shop' plan

Locums and GP practices are being encouraged to team up and trade resources and expertise, under a new scheme unveiled by the National Association of Sessional GPs.

The scheme, out for consultation with members, is aimed at freelancers who can feel isolated and out of touch with local clinical procedures, but also promises to benefit practices by providing an additional, independent member of staff.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, a freelance GP in West Sussex and CEO of the NASGP, said freelance GPs could provide expertise in setting up services, mentoring registrars or offering additional clinical opinions.

In return, the freelancer could attend clinical meetings, share PCT circulars and even have a pigeonhole for mail in the practice.

'It's a swapping of services which are mutually beneficial. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it should offer another novel way of working as a GP,' he said.

Dr Wendy Collins, a locum GP in Cambourne, Cornwall, welcomed the idea.

Dr Collins said she rarely received circulars, letters and clinical updates.

'I'd be more than happy to share my knowledge and experience in return for being kept more up to date,' she said.

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