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2012 the year in review: A good year for...Locums

As another momentous 12 months for general practice draws to a close, it’s time for Pulse’s end-of-year review. We once again nominate the great and the good for our Christmas awards – and celebrate five true heroes of general practice who have quietly done their bit to champion the profession


Unprecedented demand, rates topping £1,200 a day and none of the stress of running a practice – no wonder the National Association of Sessional GPs claimed a growing number of GPs were quitting their surgeries to go freelance.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Rates in Bristol are about half that, and a recent article, I think in Pulse, showed that the most common tactic used by practices to cut costs is to use less locums. It has not been a good year for most locums.

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  • Further to my comment above, the average locum rate in Bristol is around £70 per hour, with some practices refusing to pay more than £65 per hour and £20 per visit. It has been like that for over 5 years now. With spiralling pension premiums and medical indemnity premiums, locum work here is not an attractive option at present. I'm also aware of other parts of the country where locum rates have plummeted in recent years. I'd be very interested to know where you can earn £1200 - £1500 a day (see your article on the preferred supplier scheme) . I suspect you are referring only to locum agencies in very exceptional circumstances. The reality for the vast majority of locums is very much worse. Of course, things are difficult for partners at present as well, and I am even aware of one practice in this area where a partner is earning less than the salaried doctors in the same practice despite the longer hours and greater responsibilities. Some of the recent changes in the health service risk destabilising every aspect of general practice, and not just partnerships. If things continue this way, some locums, partners and salaried GPs will be forced abroad, into early retirement, into private practice or into other careers. Please ensure that, even in the festive season, your reporting is consistent with what is usual rather than exceptional.

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