Wales Government Health Minister Vaughan Gething has announced that Wales will be the first nation in the UK to introduce a locum register from April this year, and the first 'compulsory' register of its kind in the UK. As well as already having to register on the national Performers List, any GPs wishing to support practices in Wales as locums will need to be on this register in order to benefit from the state-backed indemnity scheme.
So, rather than take a proactive approach to encourage more GPs to live and work in Wales, the Welsh Government instead seems to be reducing the options available to GPs, and potentially reduce the support that practices receive from the GP locum workforce, by insisting that all locums will need to sign up to the register and, rather worryingly, linking this to qualifying for the state-backed indemnity scheme.
"In order to access the state-backed indemnity scheme which will indemnify individuals against claims arising from clinical negligence for NHS work, locum GPs will have to enter onto the All Wales Locum Register."
NASGP Chairman Dr Richard Fieldhouse said: "Just about everything about this press release from the Wales Government is about how they want to contain the GP locum workforce without any real attempt to understand why more GPs in Wales are preferring to work as locums, or how to support them in their delivery of care for the many practices in Wales that rely on them."
"Forcing highly skilled professional who either wish to, or have no other choice but to, work as GP locums to sign up to a new register, with punitive measures being applied for not doing so, will not do anything whatsoever to motivate the GP workforce. Even GP partners, who may someday wish to work as a locum in Wales, will rightly see their choices dwindling. This is a formula to demotivate a workforce, not inspire it."