NHS England has frozen what is describes as its ‘indicative rate’ for locum doctors at £80 per hour.
The organisation is attempting to keep down costs related to locums, after complaints from politicians and NHS bosses that arrangements with locums are not cost-effective.
Commenting on the issue, the chair of GPC’s sessional GP committee, Dr Zoe Norris, has asked practices to submit a mandatory support on the payment of locums in the coming weeks.
This report will directly request of surgeries how many times they paid more than the indicative rate per hour to a locum.
With NHS England considering this a key issue in reducing healthcare expenditure, completing and returning this form has been made compulsory.
The practice was included in the GP contract, against the wishes of the GPC and indeed many doctors, earlier this year.
An indicative rate of £80.01 has been calculated by NHS England based on the ‘average salaried GP pay range’.
The aforementioned Norris noted that the new practice will be part of mandatory e-reporting, and indicated that surgeries will still have some leeway.
“The next few weeks will see practices being asked to submit data on how much they have paid locums. This should have no impact on what rate is agreed between locums and practices. This is not a cap. It is a data collection exercise. It’s important we are clear about that”.
Writing in a blog on the BMA website, the doctor outlined the benefit of conducting this survey.
“You’ll forgive my cynicism about what happens next, and how this information gives us any more detailed information compared to what we already have. Needless to say, we will be at the table with NHSE looking at these figures and results. We will be reminding them what a significant part of the workforce sessional doctors are, and that in the current precarious position of the NHS, they would do well to remember this”.
Nonetheless, despite the protestations of the NHS hierarchy, may believe that the contract has been unfairly imposed.
Prominent healthcare figures have told surgeries that they should ignore the indicative rate and simply follow their own initiative.