22 July

It is a fact that the health service would not survive without the support of thousands of Locums who work in GP practices throughout the UK. They readily fill in for sick leave or holiday cover, take temporary placements in difficult to fill areas by accepting jobs in deprived urban and remote rural locations and generally ensure that the public receive some of the care they need in the primary healthcare sector.

For a general practice surgery the downside of continuously employing different Locums is that it is impossible for them to offer continuity of care to regular patients, however well qualified and whatever expertise the Locum can temporarily offer the practice. Locums inevitably don’t become integrated team members and don’t get to know the practice staff, including the other GPs, nurses and support staff.

Locums also tend to cover ad hoc sessions, often at short notice and on a reactive rather than a planned basis. It has also been brought to our attention that there have been cases where a Locum has been unreliable and gone to a different surgery after being offered a higher fee.  Occasionally Locums will dictate their day setup and stipulate that they are not willing to visit sick patients who are unable to get to the surgery or complete paperwork.

The urgent need for a Locum to fill a last minute vacancy or emergency can also result in the practice having to pay increased rates, which continue to rise as more GPs choose to do Locum work rather than accept a salaried position and make a long term commitment to one surgery.

Apart from the inevitable adverse effect on patient care, the cost of Locums is becoming increasingly unsustainable for the NHS.

An interim GP is a new concept which has been conceived by leading medical recruitment consultancy Primary Care Professionals. An Interim GP is committed to a longer contract that will ensure he or she stays at the surgery until a permanent replacement is found. The contract has a fixed rate for the duration of the Interim GP’s placement. The Interim GP will also have their indemnity insurance covered for both in and out of hours care by a unique policy that has been sourced and financed by Primary Care Professionals.

During their contract, an Interim GP willingly becomes an integrated member of staff,  helped by our GP Liaison team who visit practices to hold monthly appraisal meetings with both the practice managers and the GP

There are many other benefits of hiring an Interim GP, one of which is the continuity and improved patient care. They do all of necessary paperwork and make patient visits a part of their routine, exactly like a salaried GP. An Interim GP also provides pro active cover and can help with CQC inspections. Each Interim GP is recruited to the exact specifications provide by each practice.

The conclusion is that hiring an Interim GP is a better option for GP practices than Locum care. The practice will save on fees, have better and more reliable secure cover and be able to provide its patients with greatly improved continuity of care.

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