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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)

  • The problem with this, is that we are told it is a cartel if we discuss rates between us; you ask practices how much they pay locums and my experience is they tell you the lower rates.
    Now NHSE have set the rate at £80 ...

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  • Richard Branson needs a workforce acclimatised to a lower income. Jeremy Hunt needs to sow seeds of jealousy between the layers of the GP workforce. This is not a cap, it is a soft nudge from a DoH which doesn't have the balls for a proper debate or a fight with a united GP profession.
    I agree with the comments about plumbers and lawyers. They work hard (but no harder).
    Creating public disgust and professional division is cheaper than looking at the root cause: politicians have failed to plan effectively and are too weak to tell the public how it really is and how they are responsible for the obvious NHS car crash evolving in real time around us.
    I am leaving my partnership now:if I remained a Principal, I would actually welcome rising l ocum fees as it shows the real value of our work in General Practice. This is evidence that will ultimately drive up income by making evidence for the DDRB if you actually believe in it.
    Just accept that NHSE are broke, have failed and are desperately trying to deflect attention. Some brave soul will eventually push a Corporate Manslaughter charge at them and then the honest discussion can start. We seem to have accepted that the CQC can patronise us away from looking at root causes after Staffordshire!!
    DOH, please impose a ceiling on locum fees and then we can take you on via the Competitions and Markets Auuthority. Unless, of course the Gong-chasers push their way in like they did with the Junior Drs strike.

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  • This comes down to the deep battle going on about "who owns the doctors". I believe that a GP has worked their servitude by the time of reaching principal status and has a right to self-determination. Don't bother with the emotional blackmail thing...

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  • @1136 practice manager.
    Most locums I know do not earn anywhere near the figure you have quoted. A realistic figure is £90 per hr X 3 hrs per session X 8 sessions at 45weeks per year =£102600. This does not include indemnity, sick pay etc. This is on a par with the cost of an 8 session salaried gp with oncosts. (£9500 per session, 8 sessions and mps=105280) I know, I have done the sums and have both at my surgery. My point is both and especially partners are worth more than this. We have undervalued ourselves. Regarding your points on private practice: Gp practices are more employees than self employed but the latter status suits the doh well. I'm sure you are aware that there restrictions within Gms that limits private practice both in terms of quantity and access to patients. You are restricted from providing private services to gms registered patients other than for travel services. GP practices are in the no man's land ether between employment and self employement.

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  • What sort of one-sided contract allows things to be 'written in to it' at the governments whim - that's not a contract - it's indentured slavery!

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  • 1) nhse have no right to ask for this info, we run our own independent business, the money comes out of our pocket. Different matter If it we reimbursable.

    2) this is a simple divide and rule tactic designed to cause the profession to get embroiled in pointless debate, distracting us from the real issues that should concern us.

    3) describing anyone as greedy or inferring such due to ones own pitiful financial situation(partnerships) doesn't wash

    4) if any one could be described as greedy it would be partners who decided to reject the established practice of taking on partners instead opting for a salaried workforce so they could take home a few extra quid- the lack of foresight in doing so has undermined partnerships which will before long be defunct

    Take note dear friends whatever your current situation if we let the powers that be divide is things will end up getting much worse, let's not stand by idly whilst our NHS is being systematically dismantled...

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  • Simple solution instead of locums and salaried sessions offer part time partnerships with full voting rights in proportion to hours worked and share of profit as per hours worked or income generated take the cost of mortgage but include the premises imbursement from NHS and provided if you have not signed a lease wth lift building you will get partners.Do you really want them!

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  • To-Anonymous | Practice Manager13 Oct 2016 5:44pm
    Do you know that unfortunately GP Locums eat 3 times a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year? Are you paying them the 9 months they wouldn't be working thanks to stalinist PR chinese Communist "democratic" Practice Managers like your bad self?
    If you do not want to pay what you are asked to, GO TO ANOTHER SHOP!! Sorry TO ANOTHER DICKENSIAN WORKHOUSE

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