‘Use ARRS money to employ GP locums’, Pulse editor writes

9th November 2023 by NASGP

‘Use ARRS money to employ GP locums’, Pulse editor writes

Jaimie Kaffash, the editor of GP title Pulse, has called on the Government to allow practices and PCNs to reallocate additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) funding.

In an editorial published on Wednesday, he writes of the GP recruitment crisis: “There is a really easy way out of this, of course: allow practices and primary care networks to use ARRS money to employ locums.

“This will improve patient safety, which has to be the priority for the NHS and the Government. And putting the trust in GPs to spend this funding on the right roles is a much better approach than the current ‘NHS knows best’ attitude that would have made a 1960s GP blush.”

ARRS provides PCNs with funding for roles such as pharmacists, physician associates and physiotherapists.

But debate rages amongst clinicians as to the safety and risk management involved in physician associate role in particular. Last week the GP Committee for England (GPCE) passed an emergency motion ‘expressing concerns over the increasing trend of PAs being used to substitute GPs’, and calling for a freeze ‘until appropriately safe regulatory processes and structures are in place’.

Meanwhile, NASGP’s platform LocumDeck has recently seen its busiest day on record.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “If there’s one thing we know for sure about GP practices, it’s that they have the best understanding of their patients’ needs. Therefore, limiting their options to specific clinician roles, especially when we are still trying to figure out the best way to supervise and support these new roles, is not solving an existing problem but rather creating a new one.

“Jaimie’s proposal to expand ARRS funding to GPs is an excellent idea, particularly considering the GPC’s recent emergency motion.

“As an organisation, we have witnessed the benefits that GPs and practices reap from collaboration on LocumDeck, and we hope to see such mutually beneficial relationships thrive nationwide. We encourage any practices or GP locums who wish to see their ICB funding LocumDeck in their region to reach out to us. We are more than willing to assist in convincing local decision-makers to adopt LocumDeck locally.”

"Your platform is such a pleasure to use – so easy and clear to navigate. I am already excited as having published shifts today three hours ago and already had four GPs requesting to fill them. I can see all their qualifications and any questions they have.

I have worked in workforce and temporary staffing roles for ages and had numerous interactions with agencies. LocumDeck is so much better than any other booking systems I have used before."

Abbe Robertson, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust

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