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.’