GP locums in Wales are being ‘cornered’ into joining a bank in order to access NHS indemnity, NASGP members have reported.
GP locums in Wales were informed today that they would be able to access NHS medical indemnity (General Medical Practice Indemnity, GMPI) if they join ‘Locum Hub Wales’.
The change comes as Health Boards, rather than practices, become named defendants in clinical negligence litigation.
In a report from NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership published this week, authors wrote: “If a General Medical Practice engages any locum for the delivery of Primary Medical Services under the GMS contract, the GP Locum is required to comply with Appendix B.”
The letter goes on to explain that to benefit from GMPI, GP locums must register on Locum Hub Wales.
But many GPs worry that by processing GP locum work through a bank, the NHS will both override the rights of GP locums as freelancers, and sidestep their obligation to GPs as employees.
NASGP members are concerned that GPC Wales and LMCs have not been consulted on the measures.
Members have also reported problems with the bank system – for example, they were not confident that the system had saved all sessions worked.
NASGP chair Dr Richard Fieldhouse writes: “Our office has been very concerned about recent reports from our GP members living or working in Wales who appear to be the subject of back door regulation through the new Locum Hub Wales portal.
Dr Fieldhouse has written to the Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething today.
Welsh patients may also be affected in the short- and long-term by the change. In the short-term if GP locums at the border are unable to continue practising safely in Wales, Welsh practices may struggle to find cover. In the long-term, practices Wales may struggle to recruit and retain salaried GPs if they are unable to locum safely.