Jeremy Hunt: Part-time working could prevent locuming

6th May 2022 by NASGP

Jeremy Hunt: Part-time working could prevent locuming

GPs would not have to become locums if it were easier for them to work part-time, the former health secretary told Pulse this week.

“We need to make it much easier for people to work part-time without having to become a locum,” Jeremy Hunt said during an interview about the workforce crisis.

Sessional GPs reacted poorly to his comments.

“’Part time’ isn’t the issue, as working 2-4 days a week is the norm,” said one GP. “It’s fitting around school hours and holidays that’s the issue.”

“I’ve read most of this (long) piece, and there is some stuff that is good, but many misconceptions, including this about ‘part time’ working,” another commented.

“‘Having to become a locum’ is an odd phrase,” another GP responded. “I think possibly the answer is making full-time work manageable rather than a 100-hour week at best.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “Our profession needs to help the former health secretary understand that there is far more to being a GP than just providing continuity of care, and that being a GP locum is a positive career choice.

“With the support, help and understanding of local GP leaders, being a locum is a completely viable and sustainable way of providing a high quality GP service.

“Any GP locum, given the opportunity, is more than able to contribute to the provision of continuity, as well as supporting patients in struggling practices, across multiple under-resourced sites, across diverse communities far larger than a single practice, deploying our honed communication skills wherever needed.

“Mr Hunt clearly has a blind spot when it comes to locums, and is completely ignoring the potential of locum chambers to make it easier for those GPs that want to, to continue as GP partners.”

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"I have always valued real-person interactive support which the National Association of Sessional GPs has given in spades. It is particularly helpful for the older GP locums who may not be technologically savvy and may feel 'forced into' locum work at the end of their professional career when it wasn't necessarily a planned choice. "

Dr David Grant, GP, Lincolnshire

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