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GP locum notional pay cap set at £80 per hour, says GPC

NHS England has set its ‘indicative rate’ for locums at £80 per hour, as it presses ahead with plans to force practices to report every time they pay over this rate, the GPC has learned.

The chair of GPC’s sessional GP committee, Dr Zoe Norris, said that practices will be asked to submit a mandatory report on how much they have paid locums over the months of July, August and September 2016 ‘in the coming weeks’.

The mandatory report will ask ‘how many times in this period did you pay more than the indicative rate per hour to a locum?’.

Filling it out is compulsory for practices, having been written into the GP contract against the GPC’s wishes earlier this year.

The new national indicative rate of £80.01 has been calculated by NHS England based on the ‘average salaried GP pay range’ though the precise workings are unclear.

NHS England intends to use this information to map out areas of high locum demand, or areas where locums are particularly needed.

Dr Norris said: ‘The next few weeks will see practices being asked to submit data on how much they have paid locums.’

She said that this is part of practice’s ‘mandatory e-reporting’ so practices are contractually obliged to complete it, but stressed that ’it should have no impact on what rate is agreed between locums and practices.T

She said: ’This is not a cap. It is a data collection exercise. It’s important we are clear about that.’

In a blog on the BMA website, she added: ’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.’

The GMS contract for 2016/17 introduced the requirement to ‘record annually the number of instances where a practice pays a locum doctor more than an indicative maximum rate, as set out by NHS England.’

But GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Pulse at the time that the clause had been ‘imposed unilaterally’ by NHS England and stressed there is no requirement for practices to set rates at the cap.

And at the Pulse Live conference in London this year Dr Nagpaul urged practices not to take any notice of the ‘indicative rate’, saying we need to ‘just challenge it head-on, and not be affected by anything that is not contractual.’

Pulse has asked NHS England for a comment.

Readers' comments (98)

  • What does the Competition and Markets Authority have to say about capping rates unilaterally? What rights do NHSE have to impose an indicative rate if it is only after information on where locums are needed. The practices are the ones paying so unless NHSE are planning to pay the backfill is it really any of their business?

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  • And what if anything can they do about rates above this?

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  • This open market economy will cripple NHS because of locum GPs and hospital doctors greed. Freshly qualified GPs with little experience are asking for ridiculous rates which range from £85 to £105 per hour + pensions + indemnity. These rates and many salaried rates being asked are unsustainable. A large number of newly qualified GPs go down locum or sessional GP routes and one such GP boasted that he makes £150K by being part-time locum. Both the profession and NHS needs to control this unrestricted rise in GP costs. This can be done by capping NHS pensions contributions to a maximum rate such as £80/hour and restricting locum work for newly qualified GPs to a maximum of 3 months per year. Locums are necessary for essential holidays or sick cover but the long term locums do not bring any continuity of care, improvement or innovation to health care.

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  • I increased my hourly rate to £80 last month. I will have to increase it further in subsequent years to cover the rapidly rising cost of medical indemnity and inflation.

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  • Restricting newly qualified GP's to little/no locum work is depriving them of some valuable experience. All will be used to nice training practices, and it can be a major eye opener. It'll also reduce the locum pool, not a good idea

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  • After indemnity, pension deduction, costs in sometimes travelling long distances to a practice etc I know plumbers, tree fellers and roofers who earn much more per hour.

    I have work booked for next 2 months and if practices don't intend to honour my rate or reduce my rate to £80/ hour I will tell them cancel the booking then. Plenty of work for me above that rate which agencies have guaranteed even after this "cap". Supply and demand.

    Please remember if a locum takes 2 weeks holiday or goes of sick unlike salaried GPs and partners their pay is £0 per hour. We factor this into our rates.

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  • I response to practice manager whom labelled locum GP as greedy . Do you not take any better pay? Do you think you are in the position to judge newly qualified GP ?? Do you not know that they are many newly qualified GPs whom worked in other fields eg A&E for yrs ?? Your comment is an insult ! Btw, you don't have hire locum GP if the surgery you are working has enough GP.

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  • You cannot fix the market.The powers that be have to increase the supply of GPs to push down the price otherwise __THIS WILL NOT WORK!

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  • If the position of being a partner was made more attractive this problem would not arise .

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  • I charge a bit more than £80 an hour and will not be reducing it either.I have worked booked for the next 6 months. I think that this is a fair rate as I am an experienced GP and bring numerous extra skills which I have studied hard for and some of which have ongoing costs. I do not ask for indemnity on top of this and am not aware of any locums that do, however I factor this expense and other expenses into my rates and will continue to do so. I have plenty of strings to my bow and can also find other work if I feel that locum rates are going to reduce. I would not increase my rate however purely down to being a scarce resource.

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  • Alan Ferris

    The man who fixes my dishwasher charges more than that. and doesn't have to pay eye-wateringly high indemnity fees.

    We are all doomed

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  • We are having to pay upwards of £100 an hour plus superan then additional for admin and home visits etc in Liverpool where Locums are very competitive due to the high demand for them, I will be very happy to submit our Locum costs for those months to NHS England if it results in something being done to help general practice and isn't just another hoop they expect us to jump through!

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  • I charge £85 an hour + pension and I won't reduce it for all the tea in China. Factored in is my effective 60% tax rate. If I reduced it I may as well be a baby sitter I would earn more.

    Also to previous PM I bet you couldn't employ even a desperate locum with your horrible attitude.

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  • So what happens to practices who do not submit the mandatory reports? Write 50 lines "I must not overpay my locums" or go to detention?

    £80 per hour for high risk, front line work with no income at times of absence and higher indemnity costs, is a total insult and I can't believe anyone in the profession can endorse this.

    Non front line works pays as much, if not more than this, yet doesn't carry the indemnity issues and usually has employment benefits attached.

    Just because Partners are being screwed over, don't let this be an excuse to screw locums.

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  • The GPC have also agreed that Locums are entititled to utilise any Stethescope colour, as long as it is grey.

    The new GMS contract stipulates that practices are obliged to report any Locum with a stethescope other than Grey.

    This is not a law against non-grey stethoscopes, but merely to allow the department to health to collect data about how many GPs will be targeted for spot Revalidation MCQs.

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  • gp's income goes down, locum cost goes up, indemnity cost reaching sky. who are these people to ask for locum rate. if it is higher than 80/hour so what? what are they going to do. cover the shortfall?? some idiotic exercise.

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  • I cannot see what business it is of NHSE.
    The rate paid comes out of the partnership earnings so if the locum is paid more the partners take home less and that is their own business.
    There is no extra cost to the NHS.
    Yet again the powers that be are "fiddling while Rome burns" in the continuing delusion that micromanagement will cure the ills of the NHS.
    Without locums many practices would simply be unable to provide contracted services.
    I will not reduce my rate especially while some Trusts give payoffs of huge sums to incompetent senior managers on the grounds that they are legally obliged to do so!

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  • 'having been written into the GP contract against the GPC’s wishes earlier this year.'

    what is the point of the GPC again ?

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  • let then know cost of locum as it is. see what happens. i presume nothing will happen . majority are paying over £80 per hours. paying mdu appraisal, petrol, car . telephonr, cpd event, bmj fee then 40% tax, not much left. people like me will stop working soon

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