Thinly spread locums a challenge to bread and butter revalidation evidence.

4th June 2009 by NASGP

According to our recent membership survey after 256 replies, 55% (n=118) of locums work in more than 5 practices a year, and 25% in more than 10. The most popular number of sessions worked in an average week was 5 to 6 sessions (31%, n=67) so, in a typical scenario, this averages out at 46 sessions spread out over 46 weeks. For the 25% working in more than 10 practices a year, that means the same number of surgeries in twice as many practices. 

When I asked myself how many practices I’d worked in last year I guessed around 15, although a proper look at my invoices showed I’d actually worked in 34 and I suspect that others too will have underestimated to a similar degree. So what, we may ask? As John Pike points out in our main article, revalidation in its current guise will expect every locum to provide two audits and two formal multisource feedbacks over the 5 year cycle. Unfortunately, there is not yet any evidence to show that GPs working in more than one practice a year can provide audit or MSF, let alone whether it’s useful or not.

If our best guestimate of there being 15,000 practicing locum GPs in the UK is any where near true, we’re talking here of around 8,000 GPs having to struggle to provide evidence for revalidation. That clearly is not only going to create a huge problem for a significant number of jobbing GPs, but also risks undermining the efforts of the RCGP whose task it is to ensure that it represents all GPs when clearly its ‘GP MOT’ revalidation will discriminate against many non-practice based GPs.

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Dr Vin Ojha, Stoke-on-Trent

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