Three times the number of GP practices posted requests on LocumDeck, the NASGP’s locum booking portal, last month compared with June, and vacant sessions were up fourfold in the same period.
Sharing figures with Pulse, the NASGP reported that available locums were being snapped up within minutes.
Meanwhile, practices around the UK have rolled back service to emergency appointments only as local workforce shortages hold them back.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, GP and chair of the NASGP, said: “As the national organisation that represents GP locum and supports their welfare, we are humbled by our members’ response in supporting so many practices at this time. We are equally delighted that our LocumDeck instant booking platform is playing such a vital role in supporting so many practices across the country.
“But this is no time for complacency: as hospital waiting lists grow ever longer, it’s foreseeable that the problems we are dealing with now are just the tip of the iceberg, and are possibly growing exponentially.
“Pulse itself is actively campaigning for a reset in our approach to how we have been delivering general practice. I see the need for a GP workforce with a renewed sense of purpose that every GP can align to.
“We have seen a big increase in the number of newly-qualified GPs joining our national network of chambers, who are especially keen to take on extra work, so we have been providing them with guidance and support to reduce the risk of early burnout, which would only aggravate the current situation.
“We recommend GP locums at every stage in their career to keep in touch with us about the problems they face at work, and the support they need to sustain colleagues in general practice at this crucial time.”