The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF) today announced the launch of its national research into sessional General Practitioners (GPs) in the UK. This research was commissioned as part of the charity’s Development Fund Sessional GP Project, looking into issues faced by sessional GPs on a national scale. The research is a mixed methods study (focus groups, online surveys, literature review) conducted by the Medical Education Research Group at Durham University and includes figures on the number, location and types of sessional GPs currently working in the UK.
The research highlighted that, despite significant progress in some areas, professional isolation remains a major issue for today’s sessional GPs with wide-ranging repercussions. Examples can include:
- Limited access to information about education, clinical systems and professional support structures
- Lack of opportunities for professional peer interaction, for example, to receive feedback, discuss significant events, discuss challenging cases and new clinical updates and benchmark against peers
- Those new to an area, working as locums, working for an out-of-hours service, working fewer hours or working in a rural practice likely to be most at risk of professional isolation
The research also highlighted the positive contributions resulting from national initiatives, including the GPC model contract, foundation of NASGP and national deanery conferences, but also driven by sessional GPs themselves through local sessional GP groups, locum chambers, and Self-Directed Learning Groups set up and run by sessional GPs.