A GP online poll in 2016 suggested that three in five GP surgeries had to rely a great deal on locums to ensure they could provide services to patients.
23% of surgeries needed locums to provide nearly a fifth of GP appointments during the last year. (The poll had 370 partners and salaried GPs)
This was an increase compared to a similar poll conducted by GPonline last year. Last year just 14% said over a fifth of appointments were conducted by locums.
Around 6% of GPs confirmed more than 40% of appointments in their practice were being covered by locums.
The GPC said the data showed the ‘serious’ impact of workforce shortages and showed the essential role of locums.
GPC sessional committee chair Dr Zoe Norris warned earlier this month that many vulnerable practices would collapse overnight if doctors were forced out of locum roles.
Around 59% of GPs said the amount of appointments filled by locums in their surgeries increased over the last year.
It is becoming apparent that the NHS needs locums with their floating coverage in order to sustain services and relieve Partners for holidays or other commitments as surgeries are too stretched to be able to provide that cover from in-house. Shouldn’t NHS England and the local CCGs do more to support this fundamental part of the workforce instead of trying to force them out?