GP locums under pressure as Omicron cases rise

17th December 2021 by NASGP

GP locums under pressure as Omicron cases rise

The NHS is in a “bunfight” to hire GP locums to fill rota gap, Politics Home reported this week.

Pressure on locums is unlikely to ease after the government told Pulse that GPs who are close contacts of Omicron cases no longer need to isolate.

The chair of the NASGP said this winter has seen demand “unlike any other” for locums as the country grapples with a huge rise in cases driven by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse told PoliticsHome it’s “very busy”, and his members are seeing “absolutely huge demand from practices”.

“It’s a bit of a bunfight trying to get hold of locums,” Fieldhouse said.

“It’s not because there aren’t locums around, there are loads of locums around, it’s that this is their livelihood, they get booked as far in as advance as they possibly can.

“This time of year is not normally that busy, it’s busy, but it’s not this off-the-scale busy.”

Dr Fieldhouse added: “One thing many of us have learned over these last two years is that, when it comes to outbreaks of Covid, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“Over Christmas many of us will do everything we possibly can to support our colleagues on the GP frontline. But we must make sure that we all work within safe and sustainable levels, and not take on too much, making sure we all get the chance to completely unwind at some stage over this break.”

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Dr Chloe Evans, GP, Oxford

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