Intended for healthcare professionals


Sessional GPs join forces with public sector union

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 13 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6635
  1. Helen Jaques, news reporter
  1. 1BMJ Careers
  1. hjaques{at}

The National Association of Sessional General Practitioners (NASGP) has launched a joint membership scheme with the Medical Practitioners’ Union, the doctors’ arm of Britain’s biggest trade union, Unite.

The new partnership will increase union representation options for GPs, currently dominated by the BMA, and improve impartiality in disputes, said Richard Fieldhouse, chief executive of NASGP.

Sessional GPs often find that both they and the doctors in their employing practice are members of the BMA, he explained, leading to complications when sessional GPs seek help from the BMA in employment disputes.

“If you are an employee, there is something inherently odd about being a member of the same union as your employer. It’s like being in a court and having the same person acting as both the prosecution and the defence lawyer,” he said. “You just cannot expect objective impartiality, you need completely independent representation, and that’s what having another union brings.”

The new partnership also reflects some dissatisfaction among sessional GPs with the BMA, which in many cases sides with GP partners in employer-employee disputes involving sessional GPs, he added.

Sessional GPs joining the NASGP or renewing their membership will have the option to add membership of the Medical Practitioners’ Union.

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