BMA Session GP Sub-committee elections: Make your vote count
By Dr Surina Chibber
The BMA sessional GP subcommittee election deadline is fast approaching on the 6th of May. Previous voting turnout of 11.2% has been poor. Voter apathy is partly to blame. But this issue runs a lot deeper than sessional GPs just not bothering to cast a vote. Until now there has been little cohesion and unity amongst the sessional GPs and they have often been overlooked by CCGs, federations and LMCs. The cumulative effect of this has been that sessional GPs are now facing significant challenges in their work. Most recently for me the spiralling indemnity costs have had an impact.
Last week I had to renew my medical indemnity. To say I was shocked that the price for the same number of sessions had skyrocketed over £800 was an understatement. Like all GPs out there, I juggle every day costs of a mortgage and childcare on top of all the compulsory fees I have to pay as a doctor. I researched all three indemnity companies, the MDU, MDDUS and MPS. In the end my indemnity cover choice was made by the number of sessions I could afford to work, not the sessions I am available to work. I also had to limit my out of hours care provision, again due to cost. This experience made me reflect on how I need to become more proactive in engaging with voting. This is the only way to implement change. I would urge other sessional GPs to do the same.
With general practice currently facing a huge workforce crisis it is ironic that many doctors that are willing to work, cannot do so as it is too expensive for them to do their job. Primary care services are suffering from a lack of doctors, which is having a knock on effect on unmanageable workloads. Rising indemnity is not only affecting locum take home pay, but is directly impacting on the GP workforce. There are other issues that also stand to affect locum GPs. These include the proposed cap on locum pay, lack of CCG representation and poor LMC engagement. Now with social media, proactive candidates and more engagement from grassroots GPs, I hope that we elect representatives that can coherently convey our concerns in a proactive manner. In order for change to be seen in areas such as indemnity and work conditions we must collectively start to play an important role within the political field.
This week is the deadline for sessional GPs to vote for the BMA sessional GP subcommittee. Ballot papers must be submitted by 6th of May 2016. It is so important that as sessional GPs we take an active role in choosing the people that are representing us. This is the only way to give our concerns a valid voice within the profession. I would urge all sessional GPs, if you haven’t voted already to cast your vote. You do not have to be a BMA member to vote.
More details are on the BMA Website.