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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)

  • Hmmm, where it's GP premises, the cost hits the GP partner income but where it is health board run, the cost hits the taxpayer. It is no-ones business if it's GP income but lets not forget health board run pracices offer more money to clinch the "deal" and get the locum, which has a knock-on effect on other practices who can't afford to meet the same costs, which often amount to double.

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  • NHSE is a farcical organisation . Keep stifling and stamping down on us and watch the system crumble . Remember LOCUMS are keeping the system afloat!

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  • locums have a clear option - work in the private sector

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  • to clarify re: locum rates - i don't get paid for lunch and visits are 15-25 pounds per visit so hourly rate is misleading - it is better to look at daily rate i.e two 3hr surgery x £85 + 2 visits at £25 = £570 for an 8 hr day.

    what will happen now if rates are capped is that i will charge for all my time at the surgery i.e. 8 x 80 = £640.

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  • another way to look at this is income per patient seen.

    6 patients at £80 an hour is £13 per patient which is less than a haircut.

    at the end of the day prospective doctors are going to look at all of this and think do i want to have a £250,000 debt, a high risk job where i can lose income but keep debt, be tied into to t&cs that can be changed at will and then at the end of the day have an income that is capped whilst my expenses are rising higher than inflation (i.e. yearly pay cut) and can't afford to provide for my future family? these politically motivated changes have only one outcome to push doctors into the private sector.

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  • There are more than enough Partnerships available for the number of FTE doctors we have in the UK. Most of the practices would be more than happy to take on a salaried GP if they did not want partnership at the moment. Why then are so many GP's choosing to be locums?

    Not wishing to be disrespectful to the thousands of hard working professional GP's out there but in terms of value for money to the NHS, locums are pretty poor value. They cost far more than salaried GPs, almost as much as good earning partners but in terms of the non patient facing work of General Practice they do very little.

    Locums have always been needed and for some it has always been a lifestyle choice, however in recent years is has become more so and a financial choice too. If NHS England are concerned about the amount of NHS resource being spent on locums the issue is not the fees they command - that is market forces. They need to look at why so many GPs now choose to be a locum instead of partner or salaried GP.

    Fees are always higher when the balance of power sits with the locum and with a shortage of GPs that is where we are. If there were 2 locums for every available shift the same market forces would be bringing fees lower.

    Once again the issues being identified all come back to one simple thing - General Practice needs to be funded properly.

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  • @ Sessional/Locum GP 12:13

    My haircuts cost £10 but that is not the point.

    I worked out a couple of weeks ago that the GP Partners are paid £7.50 per appointment under the extended hours arrangements (DES and LES) once reception and nursing costs had been factored in!

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  • I just paid BMA Law for some legal work. The solicitor charged me £250 per hour. £1000 for 4 hours work. British gas charged me £275 for an emergency boiler repair which took one hour (part £105).

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  • This is not a cap. another useless exercise. as useful as named gp and declare your earning on web.
    any one can tell one benefit out of these 3 scheme??

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  • I know the point has been made before but £80 to see six patients is £13.33 a consultation.
    I am certain there are easier, less stressful, less potentially litigious, more appreciated ways of earning this amount.

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