All Gloucestershire GP practices now on LocumDeck

Gloucestershire GP practices have all signed up to book GP locums through NASGP’s LocumDeck platform.

LocumDeck, which is free for practices to use, enables practices and GP locums to book directly without the need for agencies.

It also keeps bookings safe and secure, offering both parties clear records for terms, conditions and invoicing.

The One Gloucestershire ICS (formerly NHS Gloucestershire CCG) funded a partnership with NASGP earlier this year that offers GP locums fully-funded membership until 31 March 2024, including booking fees.

The partnership covers GP locum sessions in Gloucester, Cheltenham, and rural Gloucestershire practices in the South Western county.

NASGP also runs partnerships in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Frimley area, and Hertfordshire and Essex.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “More and more ICSs, practices and GP locums are placing their trust in LocumDeck as their means to, respectively, plan workforce, support patients and manage their professional practice.

“We are really grateful to the team at One Gloucestershire ICS for all the work they have done to implement this project so effectively in such a short space of time.”

If you are a GP who wants to work in Gloucestershire, apply today for fully-funded use of LocumDeck until 31 March 2024.

GPs can now auto-add NASGP membership to expenses

GP locums can now use Locumdeck’s Bookkeeper to auto-add NASGP payments to their expenses.

LocumDeck’s ‘Bookkeeper’ manages all the tax-deductible expenses related to GP locum work including mileage and professional subscriptions.

When payments are received via NASGP’s GoCardless system, they are automatically added to the member’s Bookkeeper expenses. NASGP subscriptions, Booking Fee and Chamber Fees will all be added automatically.

Expenses are added when NASGP receives payment, not when the member is debited, so members may see delays between the debit and the expense log.

Locumdeck’s Bookkeeper updates itself completely automatically and allows GP locums to manually add extra data too to cover all self-employed work. Expenses are easy to export, check and share with accountants and financial advisors.

It automatically records key data points for GP locums, including:

  • Total sessions worked.
  • Total income earned.
  • Employer pension contributions.
  • Reimbursed travel costs.
  • Invoices (PDF) and invoice status.
  • Auto-completed Locum A and B forms.
  • Mileage.

Bookkeeper also includes NASGP’s ‘session counter’ to automatically record the number of four-hour equivalent sessions to save time on GP locum indemnity paperwork.

Try LocumDeck free for three months.

‘National scandal’: MPs call for NHS pension overhaul

GP pensions are a ‘national scandal’ and the Covid-19 admin suspension should become permanent, a report by the Health and Social Care Committee warned.

The NHS must also develop a nationwide ‘retire and return’ policy.

MPs later recommended that all IMG GP trainees should be offered leave to remain after successful completion of GP speciality training.

“It is a national scandal that senior medical staff are being forced to reduce their working contribution to the NHS or to leave it entirely because of NHS pension arrangements… Urgent action is needed to reform NHS pensions and prevent the haemorrhage of senior staff,” MPs wrote.

“The Government must act swiftly to reform the NHS pension scheme to prevent senior staff from reducing their hours and retiring early from the NHS.

“The temporary suspension of regulations governing the administration of NHS pensions, made under the Coronavirus Act 2020, helped to ameliorate this issue during the pandemic. The Government should consider ways to achieve the same outcome now the pandemic is behind us.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “It is a strange kind of reassurance when a committee of MPs repeats the exact same sentiments and concerns about NHS pensions that every sane doctor has been saying for the last decade.

“This is not just about our own personal circumstances of being members of a pension scheme that is clearly beyond dysfunctional, but one that is now having an equally tragic impact on patient care because doctors are having to stop work, or otherwise face ridiculous penalties.

“Action on this should have been taken five years ago, so there must be no further delay in bringing about the committee’s recommendations as soon as possible.

“I also very much welcome the recognition that overseas doctors doing their GP training in England should be allowed to remain once qualified as a GP – common sense, at last.”

 

GP and practice testimonials go live on NASGP’s LocumDeck

GPs and practices can now leave testimonials for one another on LocumDeck, NASGP’s independent locum booking platform.

GPs and practices can now request testimonials from one another after successful sessional bookings.

Testimonials are independent reviews of GP and practice managers’ experience of working together after booking GP locum sessions on LocumDeck.

Both parties can choose whether or not to write and publish testimonials on their own LocumDeck profiles.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “This is the beginning of a new phase in the development of LocumDeck brought about through feedback from members, whereby we enable practices and sessional GPs to exchange different types of feedback about each other.

“This first stage is a very simple way to request and receive feedback that the recipient can then choose to use to help them improve their bookings.

“As our experience grows, we will then be able to add new functionality so that we can help locums and practices exchange useful qualitative feedback to help improve both parties’ work together, very much feeding into general quality improvement activity for all concerned.”

Browse and request testimonials now.

GP locum agency pushes £1,000 day rates for sessional work

‘Desperate’ GP practices are paying agencies over £1,000 a day to source locums, GPs told Pulse.

In an email sent to GPs last month and seen by Pulse, Primary Care Medical Chambers offered GP locums ‘in excess of £1,000 per day’.

The company added: ‘Naturally, this may require you to travel and work slightly further afield so contribution towards travel expense can be organised.’ Primary Care Medical Chambers operates nationally.

Dr Abbie Brooks, a GP partner in York, told Pulse that ‘desperate’ practices will be forced to pay high day rates, and warned that skyrocketing agency rates are ‘just creating competition’. Another partner, Dr Russell, warned that the £1,000 paid to the locum is ‘probably the tip of the iceberg’, as the cost to the practice will be even more.

National Association of Sessional GPs (NASGP) chair Dr Richard Fieldhouse told Pulse that he was ‘disheartened’ to hear the news because an NASGP Locum Chambers ‘would never – and could never – set a rate in this manner’.

Dr Fieldhouse writes: “With inflation and GP shortages, it was only a matter of time before the fact that a locum agency is offering a routine day rate above £1,000 hit the headlines.

“Unlike an agency, the NASGP Locum Chambers model is an independent collaborative of local GP locums. NASGP Locum Chambers members set their own individual fees – not the chambers. And the practices pay the locum’s fee, with no additional agency fee – NASGP is not an agency.

“A particularly important factor within our model is the sense of belonging that being part of NASGP Locum Chambers brings, which creates a powerful shared professional reputation. We’re confident that this reputation will help us collectively cut through negative attitudes towards GP locums.”

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Salaried GPs should get 4.5% pay rise, Government says

Salaried GPs have been recommended a 4.5% pay rise but there is no indication that practices will be given the money to pay for it, Pulse reports.

Meanwhile junior doctors in England, subject to a multi-year pay deal which delivers 2% a year, have been told they will receive nothing extra this year.

BMA sessional GP committee co-chairs Dr Samira Anane and Dr Bethan Roberts said: “GP practice core investment needs an uplift to enable the appropriate remuneration of sessional GPs, which is key to the recruitment and retention of the GP workforce as a whole.”

Drs Anane and Roberts added that the BMA is in the process of expanding its dataset for sessional GPs to be used as evidence in the 2023 DDRB pay round, including conducting a comprehensive survey in the coming months.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of NASGP, said: “Salaried GPs reading this can be forgiven for feeling that they are between a rock and a hard place. They have been told that they deserve a pay rise – something we all know already – but are also being told that they can’t have it because of the uplift needed for all of general practice.

“Nothing about this gives general practice any stability, and will be taken as yet another reason for more salaried GPs to take matters into their own hands and work as GP locums. It’s almost as if this is the government’s intention.

“We very much support the BMA on all the work they are doing to secure an uplift and, as always, will work with the BMA to share any surveys with our rapidly growing membership.”

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GP launches campaign against NHS sexism 

A GP and her colleague have launched a new campaign against NHS workplace harassment.

Dr Becky Cox, an academic GP and specialist, runs ‘Surviving in Scrubs’ with Dr Chelcie Jewitt, who founded a Sexism in Medicine project and prompted the BMA to run a report on the issue last year.

In its report the BMA found that 91% of women doctors had experienced sexism in the last two years and 47% felt they had been treated less favourably due to their gender. Surviving in Scrubs calls for female and non-binary GPs and other doctors to share anonymous stories with the project.

The move comes after the first female leader of GPs in England had to take sick leave following reports of sexist comments. An independent report later found that bullying within the BMA’s GP Committee (GPC) continues to ‘marginalise women and ethnic minorities’.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “Sexist behaviour is a malignancy that should never be tolerated in any context, least of all in the medical profession, and the only chance we have of excising it from our working lives is to call it out wherever and whenever it occurs.

“While numerical data shows us the depressing size of the problem, it doesn’t actually help us tackle the problem, whereas recording qualitative data in the form of actual stories, with their potential emotional impact and power to persuade, in the way that Dr Cox and Dr Jewitt propose, is much more likely to provide us with a way to tackle this problem.

“Being discriminated against in any shape or form can be a hugely stressful event that triggers a GP to change their career path, not unusually to that of a locum, where the individual can isolate themselves from a toxic environment.

“But many locums do find this work isolating, which carries its own problems and challenges, and so it’s important we make sure these individuals can benefit from peer support from other locums can be hugely beneficial. If any of our colleagues feel they’re in this position, they must get in touch with us.”

For support with this and other salaried GP or GP locum work issues, explore our professional support toolkit is available now. 

New health minister denies ‘crisis’ in general practice

There is no crisis in general practice, James Morris MP told the House of Commons health and social care committee inquiry into the future of general practice earlier this week.

“It wouldn’t be correct to assert that we have anything other than a major challenge in this area,” the newly-appointed primary care minister told the committee.

Other witnesses for the session included Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s medical director for primary care, and Dr Amanda Doyle, NHS England’s director of primary care, both experienced NHS GPs.

Jeremy Hunt MP, chairing, asked James Morris if he would you use the word “crisis” to describe the state of general practice.

James Morris told the Committee: “The pandemic, rising demand and issues to do with the workforce are all big issues that need to be addressed over the long term.

“I think we have the tools and the means to be able to address those issues. There are no quick fixes, but, as we have discussed today, there are lots of elements in a changing landscape in primary care, and the approach the Government are taking is designed to address that. I would not use the word ‘crisis’, but we have a serious challenge.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of NASGP, said: “Violent incidents at GP surgeries have doubled in five years, and patients are becoming increasingly frustrated when booking GP appointments.

“Even despite this, GPs are actually seeing more patients, so much so that the Office for National Statistics specifically cites the unexpected economic growth being better than expected due to GPs seeing more patients.

“If all this isn’t a recipe for a crisis then I don’t know what is. I did not have particularly high expectations for a GP workforce plan from Morris, but I hadn’t expected the plan to be burying his head in the sand.

“I sincerely hope that if he remains in post long enough, he will actually visit a range of GP practices and see the workforce crisis for himself.”

Join NASGP for free to get support during the ongoing GP workforce crisis.

GP locum mental health event scheduled for September

GP locums will have the chance to find out more about burnout from the clinical lead of NHS Practitioner Health this autumn.

Dr Helen Garr will join NASGP for a 1pm Q&A on Thursday 1 September when GPs can raise questions on:

-Risk of burnout for locums.

-How to recover from burnout.

-Steps to prevent burnout this winter.

Dr Helen Garr is the latest in a series of speakers at NASGP’s lunchtime webinar for GP locums, held on the first Thursday of every month.

In July Claire Coughlan, the clinical lead for Bowel Cancer UK, presented on bowel cancer symptoms in primary care, including the role of faecal immunochemical testing.

Past speakers included Dr Tony Downs on skin cancer and Dr Tina Peers on menopause.

Join our event on Thursday 1 September

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BMA granted judicial review into NHS pensions

The BMA can undertake a judicial review into the ‘unlawful’ handling of NHS pensions, Pulse reports.

The union will look at the Government’s attempts to make NHS pension scheme members pay for changes made necessary by the McCloud remedy.

In 2015 the Government changed many public sector pension schemes. The BMA, alongside judges and firefighters, forced the Government to concede that the action it had taken instead of applying reforms amounted to age discrimination.

Vishal Sharma, the pensions committee chair, said: “The Government has lost these pension challenges time and time again – precisely because they are trying to defend the indefensible by making others pay for their mistakes. To have been granted permission to now take up a judicial review case to be heard by the High Court is another major achievement, and we look forward to continuing to fight for what our members rightly deserve.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “This is a significant victory for the BMA in their fight for justice for doctors affected by the McCloud remedy, and I really look forward to a positive outcome when the time comes.

“We will make sure that we continue to keep members updated on this story as news comes in, and we hope that the Government will learn not to take the livelihood of doctors for granted any longer.”

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GMC’s laptop ruling overturned

The GMC has effectively overturned its controversial ruling by admitting its ‘dishonesty’ test was misapplied to Dr Manjul Arora’s case, Pulse reports.

Last month, Dr Manjula Arora was suspended for a month for ‘dishonesty’ after she told an IT department she had been ‘promised’ a laptop.

In a statement, Dr Arora said: “I would like to respectfully thank the MDU for their continued effort and support and for agreeing to appeal the MPTS determination.

“I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all associations, organisations and medical professionals who selflessly picked up their pen or voiced their support for me. I am eternally thankful and indebted to you all.”

Commenting on the result last week, Dr Nagpaul said: “The fact that the GMC has effectively overturned Dr Arora’s suspension shows that the current system is structurally disproportionate, with insufficient checks and balances, and is manifestly unjust.”

At the time, the BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul called the ruling ‘incomprehensible’. The Doctors’ Association (DAUK) and British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) set up a petition to protest Dr Arora’s treatment, and the British International Doctors Association (BIDA) has also offered to support Dr Arora’s appeal. The NASGP supported Dr Arora’s decision to appeal, and publicised the case to members last month.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “I am sure that the collective sense of relief that common sense has prevailed will be nothing compared to Dr Arora’s own relief at this decision.

“I truly hope that we’ve learnt from this, and have learnt the lesson that we need to put systems and processes in place to make sure that nothing close to this appalling decision ever happens again.

“It is always good to see our profession standing completely united to support one of its own.

“This was obviously a big news story about a single GP, but we have so many colleagues doing similar types of work, often on their own with no support networks. And although they may not be subject to the same injustices as Dr Arora, many will nevertheless still have similar experiences with no one to turn to for support.

“For any GP locums out there who feel they may be vulnerable to this sort of behaviour then, as always, we recommend they team up with other local GP locums to form an NASGP Locum Chambers which can help protect against this sort of event.”

Discover NASGP Locum Chambers today.

GPs vote to keep industrial action on the table

Doctors attending the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting (ARM) voted to instruct the BMA England GP committee to ‘act upon the GP ballot of 2021 and to organise opposition to the imposition of the new contract including industrial action if necessary’, Pulse reports.

Some 57% were in favour of potential industrial action, while 17% voted against and 26% abstained.

Last year in an indicative ballot, GPs suggested they would vote in favour of taking action over the new contract imposition.

Dr Farah Jameel, the GPC chair, told reporters that GPs were “exhausted” by work and NHS England’s proposals.

GPs last took a day of industrial action 10 years ago on 21 June 2012. During the last industrial action, Pulse advised that GP locums contracted by primary care organisations could take part in industrial action.

Representatives also voted for GP practices to withdraw from PCNs by next year.

The ARM results came during strikes by both RMT members and barristers.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “Any decision to take industrial action is never taken lightly, and if there is one profession that is good at weighing up evidence and risks, it is GPs. So, to have reached the stage where we are talking about ballots for industrial action is indeed frightening.

“Although self-employed GP locums will not be balloted, we nevertheless collectively share the deep frustration of our colleagues who are either completely exhausted, or witnessing their colleagues going through unprecedented stress that has been brought about by this ever increasing workload.

“We know that our members are doing all they can to support colleagues. Our advice here is to make sure you look after yourself first, making sure you also take time off to relax away from work.”

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‘Nearly 19,000’ GPs and trainees will walk, RCGP predicts

The RCGP has published recommendations for general practice, warning that nearly 19,000 GPs and trainees will leave the profession without change.

Its new Fit for the Future report (PDF) includes recommendations for the government to:

  • ‘Eradicate unnecessary bureaucracy in general practice to enable staff to focus on patient care.’
  • ‘Make it easier for international doctors who complete their training as NHS GPs to apply for long-term visas to stay and work in the UK, bringing the situation into line with trainee doctors in other parts of the NHS.’
  • ‘Publish a detailed plan to achieve and go beyond the targets of 6000 extra full time equivalent GPs and 26,000 additional staff in non-GP roles.’

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We need to make being a GP sustainable again, for the sake of the NHS, and for the sake of patients.”

Dr Kieran Sharrock, BMA England GP committee deputy chair, echoed the warning: “This stark warning from the College is one that the Government can ill afford to ignore.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “We welcome this report, particularly in relation to small tangible solutions rather than grand vote-hugging gestures.

“With this report highlighting that so many GPs want to leave their existing roles, it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of the current models that newly-qualified GPs are being encouraged to apply for.

“As an addition to this report, we’d like to also highlight the vital and significant role of our existing GP workforce. Having a simple solution in place to support GPs who are working as locums – many of whom are still uncertain about their career options – can be a great way to retain GPs that might have otherwise left the profession altogether.”

 

Agilio Primary Care acquires My Locum Manager

Agilio has acquired the My Locum Manager platform, it reports – making NASGP’s LocumDeck as the only national independent GP-led locum booking platform on the market.

My Locum Manager (MLM) was founded in 2015 by Dr Matthew Beddoe and Dr Surina Chibber.

Its new parent company, Agilio, works across primary care, hospitals and dentistry. My Locum Manager joins the company’s ​​workforce management system, Agilio TeamNet.

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NASGP schedules GP bowel cancer education event

The NASGP has scheduled the fourth in its series of lunchtime clinical talks for sessional GPs.

On Thursday 7 July at 1pm Claire Coughlan will speak on bowel cancer symptoms and signs in general practice.

Claire Coughlan is the clinical lead for Bowel Cancer UK. Her focus is on provision of support for patients, health professional education and ensuring that the charity’s clinical focus remains current and relevant. Claire is a consultant nurse in colorectal cancer with expertise in bowel cancer follow-up, genetics and symptom assessment. She is currently undertaking a PhD in the priorities for bowel cancer follow-up care across diverse communities.

Last week Dr Tony Downs talked about actinic keratosis and skin cancer. You can watch his video back online on nasgp.org.uk.

Sign up to receive a meeting link by email.

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New GPs face deportation letters, MPs warned

A vice chair at the RCGP told MPs that newly-qualified GPs are receiving letters threatening deportation after completing their training, Pulse reports.

“I’m contacted on a regular basis by trainees who, despite the fact that we’ve spent £50,000 a year training them up – and perhaps in areas of deprivation, they’ve also been given funding perhaps through the targeted enhanced reimbursement scheme – and at the end of their training they’re literally going from celebrating the fact that they’ve become a GP to receiving letters threatening them with deportation,” Dr Margaret Ikpoh told MPs.

“That can’t be right. It has to change and we have to value them better… I think it’s an easy win for all of us to try and sort out.”

A recent report by the BMA revealed that a third (32%) of doctors have left or are considering leaving the NHS due to experiences of racism in the last two years. One in 10 said they have already left a job for this reason.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “Not even Franz Kafka could have come up with a storyline whereby a government trains doctors for three years to support a struggling healthcare system, only to then threaten those doctors with deportation as soon as they qualify.

“This highlights that the BMA’s research into racism is more important than ever. Any newly qualified GP who finds themselves in this situation can get support and advice from colleagues on our GP-only Facebook group.”

Capita gets three more years on GP pensions contract

Capita has secured an extension to keep delivering PCSE pensions services until 2025, Pulse reports.

The contract was due to end in 2022 but NHS England has extended it. NHSE did not respond to Pulse’s request for comment.

In February Pulse also reported that GPs had received around £1.5m in pensions compensation following errors.

BMA pensions committee deputy chair Dr Krishan Aggarwal said: “ it is essential that Capita urgently fixes its systems and ensures that accurate timely information is made available to GPs and their practices.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “I haven’t actually seen the evidence, but I’ve been told that the moment this was announced, the earth’s axis wobbled for a few seconds due to the gyroscopic effect of thousands of GPs’ eyeballs rolling in their heads.

“There has been so much distress, disruption and frustration caused by the way the NHS Pension Scheme has been administered over the years, and although there are some good arguments for Capita to have been stripped of its contract, I feel it’s better that we avoid the disruption of handing over to a new contractor. Instead we are in complete agreement with the BMA that Capita must be held to account and must be made to deliver on a far more robust service going forward.

“Since successfully lobbying for pensions for locums in the late 1990s, NASGP has built up an extensive NHS Pension Scheme resource on our website. Thousands of locums also benefit from our paperless NHS pension system within LocumDeck.”

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Four in five GP partners ‘can’t find a locum’

Four in five GP partners say their practice has struggled to find a locum in the last six months, a new GPOnline poll reports.

Nearly two thirds of the 250 GPs surveyed added that use of locums has increased significantly over the past six months at practices where they work.

LocumDeck, NASGP’s independent locum booking platform, has recorded increasing activity since the first half of 2020. Last month bookings were up 169% year on year, and in January bookings hit a record high.

LocumDeck stats reflect a national trend towards increasing provision. GP practices provided a record 367m appointments in 2021.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “The survey’s findings completely chime with our experience. There appears to be an increase in the needs of practices, but also a significant increase in the number of locum sessions being booked.

“This all suggests a widespread shortage of flexible GPs able to support demand. NASGP is trying to make this as easy as possible for both locums and practices to provide cover as much as possible. Whatever the workforce plan the NHS has currently in place, it’s clearly not working.“

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GPs at risk of £33k pension bill, advisor warns

A typical GP could face an annual allowance charge of almost half their post-tax income’, BMA pay advisor Dr Tony Goldstone warned last week.

In a now-deleted Twitter thread, he explained:

“If September CPI [Consumer Prices Index] is 10%, that might give a typical GP around the level of the lifetime allowance [ie, those towards the end of their careers] and with average earnings of £115k an AA charge of £33,349 – that’s almost half of their post-tax income.”

With regard to Dr Goldstone’s Twitter thread, the BMA declined to comment on the deletion of his personal account.

Dr Goldstone’s remarks coincided with the launch of a new GP pensions tool by the BMA. The tool models the effect of the CPI on an individual pension. To load the tool, ensure Javascript is enabled in your browser.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “Receiving a huge tax bill for our pension scheme is the last thing any of us want. The BMA has produced this excellent tool, and all of us within the NHS Pension scheme should be putting some time aside to use it to see if we could be facing this penalty.

“We’ve asked our accounting and finance partners, Honey Barrett and Legal and Medical, to produce a review of how this could impact sessional GPs. We will contact members with this advice as soon as we receive it.”

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GP suspended over laptop to appeal ruling

A GP suspended after what leaders called an ‘incomprehensible’ ruling will appeal, Pulse reports.

Dr Manjula Arora was suspended for a month for ‘dishonesty’ after she told an IT department she had been ‘promised’ a laptop.

The BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned that the ruling was ‘incomprehensible’. The Doctors’ Association (DAUK) and British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) set up a petition to protest Dr Arora’s treatment, and have also written to the Professional Standards Authority in reference to the case. The British International Doctors Association (BIDA) has also offered to support Dr Arora’s appeal.

The MDU confirmed to Pulse that it would assist Dr Arora’s appeal following the outcome of the MPTS hearing.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “I’m sure Dr Arora has not taken this decision lightly, having already been subjected to public scrutiny. Following this shocking decision by the GMC, it is the right decision for both patients and GPs to stand up to this travesty. I can’t begin to comprehend the stress that Dr Arora has already been through, and I’m sure there is still more to come.

“The underlying circumstances of the story could happen to any of us who simply request the basic tools we require to do our job, and this must not be allowed to happen again.

“The biggest cost to any of us in this situation is our wellbeing. When faced with such ridiculous accusations and penalties, we must all stick together.

“Isolated GP locums without a professional support network are particularly vulnerable. As always, we strongly urge all our colleagues to consider joining up with local locums in peer-support networks like NASGP Locum Chambers that offer them protection whilst helping them thrive.”

Discover NASGP Locum Chambers today.

GP leaders defend doctor suspended over laptop

The BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned that the GMC ruling over a GP’s request for laptop was ‘incomprehensible’, Pulse reports.

The Doctors’ Association (DAUK) and British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) have also set up a petition over the treatment of Dr Manjula Arora.

Dr Arora was suspended for a month for ‘dishonesty’ after she told an IT department she had been ‘promised’ a laptop.

Dr Nagpaul said: “This ruling will add to many doctors’ fears about the General Medical Council’s disproportionate and unfair approach to their regulatory system as it applies to the medical profession.

“A referral to the GMC can cause untold mental distress on a doctor, with some doctors having sadly taken their own lives whilst being investigated. The BMA has repeatedly raised the concern that there are disproportionate GMC referrals by employers of doctors from ethnic minorities, with doctors who have qualified overseas being referred at three times the rate of UK-trained doctors.

“This ruling reinforces the BMA’s view that there needs to be a comprehensive root and branch independent evaluation of the GMC’s fitness-to-practise decision-making procedures starting from the referral process itself – something we have called for repeatedly.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “I completely agree with Dr Nagpaul that the GMC should have systems in place to prevent cases like this ever going to a tribunal.

“Sessional GPs like Dr Arora can feel particularly isolated. That is why we are so passionate about our NASGP’s Locum Chambers model. It brings GPs together providing peer support, with the collective power to confront organisations to help them instead support the welfare of their GPs and help them to excel in the workplace.”

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Four in ten GP partners consider salaried roles

Four in ten GP partners would consider a salaried GP role ‘if offered the right deal’, a Pulse survey of 800 GPs finds.

And 27% of the 442 GP partners surveyed had ‘considered handing [their] contract back’ within the last year.

As pressures mount, the profession has shifted to a roughly 50/50 split between sessional GPs (salaried GPs and GP locums) and GP partners.

Results come just two weeks after the BMA Sessional GPs subcommittee applied to split from the General Practitioners Committee (GPC).

NASGP’s independent locum booking platform, LocumDeck, has seen bookings soar 169% in early 2022, compared with the same period in 2021.

Join NASGP’s free three-month trial.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “We have a long tradition in general practice of justifying our sense of purpose as being committed to continuity of care, which we then exclusively link with the partnership model.

“Despite the NHS having been founded nearly 75 years ago, our approach hasn’t changed, but the landscape has, dramatically. GP workload, patients expectations, public demand and medical advances all mean that sticking to the traditional model has significant limitations. And this latest survey suggests that desperately clinging on to that model is not sustainable.

“As well as continuity, we also need to pay much more attention to the value of providing better access for practices that struggle to recruit; valuing the benefit to a patient of more than just one opinion; and to modern Nobel prize-winning innovations in behavioural psychology.

“Rather than being distracted by headlines that show changes in attitude to our professions – and politicians’ – preferred contractual status, we need instead to be celebrating the richness and diversity of working as a GP, no matter what your contract says.”

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GP locum bookings up 169% on LocumDeck

GP locums have seen an 169% increase in bookings on LocumDeck in the first quarter of 2022, compared to last year.

In January, February and March 2022 instant bookings on LocumDeck more than doubled.

On NASGP’s LocumDeck, GP locums can post their availability on a practice-by-practice basis.

GP practices can ‘Instant Book’ GP locums for locum sessions at no additional cost.

NASGP’s LocumDeck is free for practices to use and join. There is no booking fee for GP practices – NASGP is not an agency.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “It is thrilling to be part of an organisation that is being trusted by more and more GPs and practices to support their livelihoods and businesses, helping balance their livelihoods and careers.

“We fully expect these figures to continue rising, and are hugely grateful to all our colleagues for the faith and trust they have invested in us over these last 25 years.”

Join NASGP’s free three-month trial today – no card details required. 

GPs to get notified when payment is sent

GP locums in NASGP’s Locum Chambers will now be notified if a practice marks a payment as sent.

If the payment becomes overdue and the locum has not yet marked the payment as received, NASGP will send the GP a notification. 

NASGP Locum Chambers is a complete model for running and developing a freelance business as a GP, designed for locums who don’t want to go it alone.

Each NASGP Locum Chambers is a local team of up to 15 GP locums who meet up regularly. The group shares a dedicated manager and clinical director while retaining independence. 

For GPs without a local NASGP Locum Chambers, the NASGP also runs a remote UK-wide Chambers once a month. 

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, says: “Our full-time in-house LocumDeck development team is continually rolling out improvements to LocumDeck, based entirely on feedback from locums and practices. 

“This latest one will increase our efficiency around chasing late invoice payments from practices for our members. 

“The more we do to take the hassle out of locuming, the more time and energy our members have to enjoy the work of general practice.”

Join NASGP’s Chambers tier today.

"I must tell you that you have a brilliant team. I find it so convenient to ask for help and it's always tailored to my needs. Thanks a bunch :)"

Dr Aamina Khan

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