GP locums’ swing towards salaried roles has already headed back in the original direction, the NASGP has warned colleagues in Pulse.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of the NASGP, told Pulse: “Over the summer we certainly were getting members becoming salaried GPs – but about a month after that we saw more GP locums join us. There’s a lot of churn going on.”
Now, six months on, he says, many will be looking to get back to locuming: “That’s often the time when you are appraised and a lot of these posts that were vacant for so long and suddenly got filled, some will have been unfilled for good reason.
“A GP I know of recently came back to locum work because they were concerned about patient safety at the practice they’d joined.”
‘Control up front’
Practices still face major challenges, such as a lack of resources, Dr Fieldhouse says, and have not yet received emergency funding to cope with the backlog.
“I worry people have made the move from GP locum over to salaried work more out of desperation than as a positive career choice.
“We’re at the six-month point where people have done that time in salaried posts and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot say, ‘I tried it. I gave it a shot and got some good money but it’s not for me – I remember now what being a salaried GP was like’.”
Dr Fieldhouse says it hinges on reducing workload: ‘It’s all very well coming up with these fantastical salaried contracts but the reality of the workload is that there are so many patients who need to be seen and we just need more GPs.
“As a GP locum you are in a position to say, ‘I’ll see 18 patients I have to finish at 6pm – I can’t do a whole load of blood tests”. As a GP locum you can control that up front.”