LMC leaders have called on the BMA to reject proposals which would allow SAS doctors to work in general practice as primary care doctors.
The vote, part of the annual UK LMC conference, asked the BMA’s GP Committee to reject any changes to the Performers’ List which enable non-CCT holders to work in general practice.
The motion proposed by Norfolk and Waveney LMC and was overwhelmingly passed, following a lengthy debate.
Starting the debate, GPC policy lead for education, training and workforce Dr Sarah Matthews said the committee now understands NHS England’s proposed pilots of SAS doctors working in general practice for 2023/24 have been ‘pulled’.
Dr Matthews said the potential of moving forward with regulatory change without these pilots was a ‘wild west’ situation.
Chair of the BMA’s Staff and Associate Specialist (SAS) Committee, Dr Ujjwala Anand Mohite then addressed conference, saying the current proposal is not an ‘attractive or viable career option’ for SAS doctors who want to work in primary care.
Dr Anand Mohite said: ‘We do not believe that it is viable to create a separate role for SAS doctors in primary care as it would lead to a category of less GP and could lead to these doctors being exploited as a group.’
In April, GPC England deputy chair Dr Kieran Sharrock said the committee would ‘vociferously oppose’ the plan unless certain requirements were implemented to make it safe and feasible.
And later that month the RCGP said it was ‘not in a position’ to support the introduction of SAS doctors to general practice because NHS England had not yet ironed out concerns around funding and patient safety.
During the debate, most GPs were strongly against the proposal, saying it would not address the GP workforce crisis and citing concerns around having to supervise SAS doctors who are not trained to deal with undifferentiated care in the same way as GPs.
Dr Rachel Ali from Devon LMC said: ‘If they want to allow highly trained, excellent SAS doctors to work in primary care, let them work in primary care in community clinics run by secondary care, doing secondary care work in specialist areas. It’s got nothing to do with general practice.’
Dr Manu Agrawal called on LMC leaders to reject the idea that SAS doctors are less qualified, but said they are more suited to working in hospital or community settings.
He said: ‘Personally, I am fed up of supervising multiple roles on a daily basis and would love to have a workforce which can work independently, and I can get on with my day job.’
Many GPs also expressed concerns that around inequalities since the SAS doctor cohort is disproportionately from ethnic minority and IMG backgrounds.
Dr Carter Singh, chairman of the Nottinghamshire LMC, said: ‘This will create a two-tier system which may confuse the public and undermine this grade of doctor.’
He added: ‘Our hospital SAS doctors are highly skilled but often undervalued, and I suspect, from the ones I’ve spoken to, very few are sadly in post out of choice but rather as a result of institutional racism and a lack of training and mentoring.
‘It is further segregation and division of an already exploited workforce masquerading as inclusion. It will be us over-stretched GPs that will have to pick up the pieces when this fails.’
In March, speaking at the Pulse Live conference, GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said regulatory hurdles must be lifted to admit ‘sizeable’ pool of SAS doctors who are ‘itching’ to work in general practice.
Motion in full
NORFOLK AND WAVENEY: That conference asks GPC to reject the GMC’s proposed changes to the
Performers’ List to enable non-CCT holders to work within general practice as primary care