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Half of locums expected to work beyond their contracted hours

Around half of locum GPs are expected to work longer than their contracted hours, while more than 50% say they do not receive enough support at work, a survey by Pulse has shown.

The survey of almost 300 locums found 49.5% faced the expectation that they should work more hours than for which they had been hired (see chart below.)

However the same proportion said they had not experienced this, while 1% said they ‘don’t know’ if this expectation existed.

In addition, a total of 55% of respondents said they had a lack of supervision or support while at work.

In recent months there have been concerns that locum GPs are dealing with escalating workloads due to mounting recruitment problems – meaning locums are left managing thousands of patients with whom they are not familiar.

In July, BMA representatives in North Wales said locums working at health board-managed practices in the region had an ‘unacceptable workload’.

The North East Wales BMA division said locums working at GP surgeries overseen by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board were having to manage more than 5,000 patients.

Dr Farook Jishi, division secretary, said at the time that the level of workload was ‘hard enough for GPs when it is their own patients and they know the area,’ noting the ‘tremendous’ amount of stress doctors were under.

Gareth Bowdler, east area medical director for the health board, said at the time: ‘Recruitment of GPs is an ongoing challenge due to an unprecedented shortage of GPs nationally.’

There were ongoing efforts to recruit salaried, permanent GPs to their practices, he said.



Source: The Pulse survey was launched on 25 September 2018, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 29 questions asked covered a wide range of GP locum topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. The survey was advertised to our readers via our website and email newsletter, with a prize draw for £200 of John Lewis tokens as an incentive to complete the survey. Around 283 locum GPs responded to this survey.