The latest in a long serious of increasingly desperate and bizarre moves to get us to cut referrals is, apparently, to suggest that locums should be banned from making any.
This begs an interesting question, apart from the obvious ones, such as why the assumption that locums are a bunch of morons, why should a patient suffer a referral delay just because the ‘usual GP’ is on holiday/sick/maternity leave, why do we put up with such bollocks etc?
If you accept locum referral decisions are dodgy – I don’t, obviously, but bear with me – then so, presumably, are their decisions about not referring. In other words, for every referral they make but shouldn’t have, there’s another where they haven’t but should have. The only way to check this out is for the returning GP to look through every single case the locum was involved in.
So here’s the question. Why bother employing locums at all?
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex