BMA: GPs should tell us if OOH shifts are cut at short notice

27th February 2024 by NASGP

BMA: GPs should tell us if OOH shifts are cut at short notice

GPs in Cambridgeshire have been recommended to contact the BMA if out of hours (OOH) work is cancelled with less than four weeks’ notice, Pulse reports.

The local OOH provider, HUC, has confirmed that it plans to diversify its workforce due to financial pressures – something it says falls in line with national trends in OOH. Cambridgeshire LMC was warned by HUC that shifts may be ‘cancelled or moved to adjust the resource’.

The LMC attributed the oversubscription of GPs to the service to the national fall in available locum sessions, which was in turn due to a fall in contractor income.

Meanwhile the latest GP workforce stats show the trend away from partnership continues. By headcount, there were 18,903 GP partners working in England in January 2024, compared with 24,491 in 2015. Patients per GP is up 18% since 2015.

On LocumDeck, it’s easy to set up a cancellation policy: either use NASGP’s boilerplate terms, or set your own.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “Any GP provider, whether a traditional family practice or out of hours provider, are under considerable financial strain at the moment, so it is completely understandable that such providers are having to look at their financial bottom line and factor this in when they are planning their future workforce. However, there is absolutely no excuse to make any compromises whatsoever when it comes to its most precious resource, which is its clinical workforce.

“As every GP locum knows, it’s part of the job to have uncertainty, which is why it’s so important to us all that we have properly structured and formatted terms and conditions that protect us in as reasonable a period as is possible. This is why a four-week cancellation policy is a pretty standard inclusion in our terms and conditions.”

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