23 February

You may have heard of the recent news that NHS England propose setting a capped rate for practices when they recruit locum GP’s. This system would be given a minimum and maximum rate that practices are able to spend on locum GP’s. After reading this article in Pulse, which explains how practices would have to inform the NHS each time they pay over a locum rate that has been set for them to use, we decided we had a different idea of how to best solve the spending issues.

 

Alongside many other critics of this news, we agree that by introducing a minimum and maximum rate, you are setting a restraining rate for practices to work with, and for locum GP’s to demand.

‘Some practices may be prompted to use this indicative rate as a ceiling, some locums will significantly increase their rates to match it, and some GPs will stop work altogether and move to a higher-paying profession.’ [1]

Furthermore, the initial problem of locum spend originated from partners’ incomes being diminished, with an increased workload. As a result, Doctors were abandoning partnership roles to work as locums.

With the supply of GP’s already being low capping rates will only increase the problem longer term. We propose that perhaps by increasing funding for Salaried GP’s and Partners beyond 1% would have a bigger impact.

To fix the problems of escalating locum fees, extra investment should be directed towards general practice to make partnership a more attractive option.

The main focus should be making a partnership become attractive again to allow incomes to rise, and to eliminate the need for locum doctors. If salaries of GP Partners were increased  to 10% it would become a more attractive role. Therefore more GP’s would be encouraged to take on a salaried role, or a partnership, which would result in more time to dedicate to actual patient care. And, this means that there would be less locums which would eradicate the problem of locum spend.

If you have any comments on this, please let us know.

[1] Gponline.com, (2016). Practices could boycott bid to cap GP locum rates | GPonline. [online] Available at: http://www.gponline.com/practices-boycott-bid-cap-gp-locum-rates/article/1384355

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