Four in five GP partners say their practice has struggled to find a locum in the last six months, a new GPOnline poll reports.
Nearly two thirds of the 250 GPs surveyed added that use of locums has increased significantly over the past six months at practices where they work.
LocumDeck, NASGP’s independent locum booking platform, has recorded increasing activity since the first half of 2020. Last month bookings were up 169% year on year, and in January bookings hit a record high.
LocumDeck stats reflect a national trend towards increasing provision. GP practices provided a record 367m appointments in 2021.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “The survey’s findings completely chime with our experience. There appears to be an increase in the needs of practices, but also a significant increase in the number of locum sessions being booked.
“This all suggests a widespread shortage of flexible GPs able to support demand. NASGP is trying to make this as easy as possible for both locums and practices to provide cover as much as possible. Whatever the workforce plan the NHS has currently in place, it’s clearly not working.“