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NHS England injects £120k per region to set up ‘flexible’ GP staffing banks


scottish GP contract


Salaried and locum GPs are to be recruited into new flexible staffing ‘pools’ that will be set up with £120,000 of funding in each region, NHS England has said.

The local banks will initially be used to provide extra staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, with GPs paid through NHS England’s £150m support fund to keep practices running until the end of March 2021.

However, the pools ‘can continue after this time’, said NHS England in guidance it published yesterday for primary care networks and other local NHS organisations.

GPs hired through pools should be paid in line with local arrangements, while it is recommended locum GPs are paid £77.57 per hour – or £323.21 per session, said the guidance.

The proposals were first set out over the summer in NHS England’s People Plan, which said practices and PCNs would be encouraged ‘to offer more flexible roles to salaried GPs and support the establishment of banks of GPs’.

The latest guidance reveals regions will be given £120,000 – on top of support from the £150m fund – through their local sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) or integrated care system (ICS).

The NHS England guidance said: ‘The pools can provide a mechanism for practices to use the [£150m] fund for extra salaried GP capacity until end March 2021. Yet the pools can continue after this time.

‘These pools will support groups of PCNs – most likely at CCG or place footprint – to increase capacity in general practice and create a new offer for local GPs wanting to work flexibly.’

It later added: ‘The pool should support the local infrastructure through Covid and afterward, and so systems should plan to have access to a smaller budget for maintenance of a pool arrangement next year and possibly beyond.’

READERS' COMMENTS [11]

A non 23 December, 2020 4:59 pm

So why exactly would anyone join a bank that pays significantly below the market rate? Join our ‘flexible working bank ..we pay the lowest rates in the industry!! (..and will offer you a ‘contact’ that is almost guaranteed to screw you over, obliging you to work crap session at places you really dont want to be ) ‘ ..tempting?
Not at all
Watch as they make hiring locums privately “illegal” and force practices to use the local bank
I confidently predict if this makes if off the ground the net result will be the exact opposite of what is intended -> a reduction in the availability of bookable locums and greater staffing pressures in primary care
call me a cynic but it’s pretty much inevitable

Gary Free 23 December, 2020 5:59 pm

Hard to see how can make it illegal or even change the contract to do so. Not without changing competition law

Simon Gilbert 23 December, 2020 8:40 pm

I suspect locums all have different risk tolerances/premiums for different practices depending on the circumstances and how they are treated, or factors such as speed of payment and parking.
Not sure how a single fixed rate and no choice of where to work helps anything!

Matthew Parfitt 23 December, 2020 9:44 pm

Seems badly timed. Any locums who were feeling vulnerable during the pandemic have already moved to a salaried post. The rest of us (I think) probably want to keep the flexibility of locuming at the surgeries we want, when we want, and at the rates and conditions we negotiate with each practice. We seem to be in demand currently, so signing a restrictive contract isn’t gonna be one of my New Years resolutions (especially if practically the only advantage for locums in the propaganda is regaining proper ‘death in service’ rights – which is a shocking omission from the current pension terms, but not one I’d be likely to sacrifice my independence for).
Back to the drawing board NHSE.

C P 24 December, 2020 2:47 am

Well that will be attractive

Turn out The lights 24 December, 2020 7:08 am

One detects another moonsh@t proposal that will be a epic fail.

A non 24 December, 2020 10:56 am

Hi Gary the illegal bit was in quotes (“..”) for a reason, but thanks all the same for your otherwise “razor sharp” analysis.

Ahmed Nana 25 December, 2020 11:38 am

@anon @gary free. Pressure for locums to join banks is already happening. In Wales, the health boards have decided that locums not signed up to a bank will not be elegible for the NHS indemnity scheme. This was done without consultation and justified by stating that as as health boards are taking responsibility for negligence indemnity, they need all freelancers to sign up. Check the link below from NASGP. https://www.nasgp.org.uk/gp-locum-work/gp-locums/welsh-locums-gmpi-locum-hub-wales/

Dave Kew 27 December, 2020 10:07 am

I’ve gone from seeing 4 or 5 locum days to a part time salaried in a nice local practice. Wouldn’t join this, and am now less useful to society because of NHSE. Many more like me too.

Mark Bligh 7 January, 2021 5:07 pm

I wouldn’t want to join a bank…..though it does look attractive as that rate is significantly more than practices are paying for locums where I work! Local rate here is about £220 to £250 a session. What is the England average might I ask?

David Church 9 January, 2021 5:54 pm

@ Mark Bligh : no, you are not allowed to ask, and no locum is allowed to answer : it has been made illegal and a striking off the Register offence.
Only Practices and HBs/CCGs are allowed to discuss and price-fix locum rates.