GP locums have been forced to raise fees by 20% to cover the cost of indemnity, Pulse reports.
NHS Wales opened state-backed indemnity to all GPs in 2019, but last year demanded that GP locums must join ‘Locum Hub Wales’ and record all work in the system to qualify for cover.
GP locum and NASGP chair Dr Richard Fieldhouse told Pulse he had seen examples of locums putting up their rates by a fifth.
He said: “We’ve got definitive evidence to prove that locums are working in Wales less and some that are still working there are charging a lot more to cover the indemnity cost.”
“The IT system [the locum hub has] used is so clunky and [GPs are] worried that actually if their IT system breaks down and their session gets lost then they might be working illegally – they’re not covered. That’s just too risky so they’d rather pay the extra money and charge it back to the practice.”
In Northern Ireland, GP locums may also be granted state-backed indemnity but face a change in the rate of discount – which could inflate the cost of sessional work at a time when the NHS can ill-afford to lose capacity.
The NASGP has been reporting on and campaigning on this issue for two years, to date. The Welsh Government first introduced a locum register in 2019. In December 2020, GP locums in Wales were told that to maintain access to state indemnity, they would have to join a new staffing bank, ‘Locum Hub Wales’. But last March Welsh GPs were told they would lose state indemnity for locum work unless they joined new ‘staffing banks’.