By Alisdair Stirling
Locum chambers are preparing to launch specialist provider services for GP consortia, Pulse has learned.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chief executive of the National Association of Sessional GPs, said his Chichester chamber is preparing a business plan to launch provider services for minor surgery, joint injections and family planning to local GP practices.
'We´re working out the costs and the timings but over the next couple of weeks we´re going to start marketing the services to practices,' he said.
Dr Fieldhouse said the move was part of a wider shift toward greater professionalism on the part of locum groups nationally.
'Chambers are appointing partners and managers and building up pre-referral services based on their expertisem' he said. 'The idea is that when these doctors are locuming they can also take on specialist work for the practices, running clinics and preventing unnecessary hospital referrals.'
He said the Government's NHS refoms offered the chance for such services to be taken up more widely by commissioning consortia.
'The beauty of this professional network of locums is where it dovetails into clinical commissioning. These doctors are quality-assured. Any significant events get discussed within the chambers meetings and they can see patients without the practice incurring any extra costs. Everybody benefits.'
Dr Fieldhouse said that such moves were one positive way of tackling the problem of sessional GPs being disenfranchised and marginalised, highlighted in a recent study. Research carried out at Durham University suggested sessional GPs were in danger of becoming a 'lost tribe' suffering lack of access to career opportunities, education, information about clinical systems and professional support.Dr Richard Fieldhouse Watch the interview with Dr Richard Fieldhouse