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23rd January 2024

Sessional GPs locum work challenges

The Sessional GPs Committee continue to hear increasing reports from The BMA's constituents that they are struggling to find locum work in practices. Practice finance pressures as highlighted in their recent practice finance survey and the need to use.

ARRS funded (which exclude GPs) has resulted in a huge reduction in available locum shifts, leaving many GPs unable to work.

The BMA have raised these concerns face to face with NHSE and DHSC and, via the GP wide survey, are gathering increasing evidence of this issue. They will continue to lobby for the inclusion of GPs (and practice nurses) in the ARRS.

Patients want and deserve to see a GP and at a time when we have a supposed shortage of GPs it is unconscionable that anyone should be struggling to find employment or that patients are denied the benefits of the skills and expertise those GPs have spent their entire careers developing.

It is GPC England’s view that it would be appropriate to include General Practitioners (and Practice Nurses) as reimbursable roles within the ARRS programme. Had the considerable financial support associated with the ARRS programme over the past five years been directly available to General Practitioners for use within their practices, without the constraints on recruitment associated with the PCN DES specification, this would have created a far more flexible, responsive and sustainable solution to the workforce crisis facing General Practice. The BMA also believe this would have resulted in better value for money from ARRS funding in terms of patient care.

Without the necessary support that General Practice so desperately needs from NHSE/DHS, in order to provide safe, effective and efficient care to its patients, we can expect to see further losses of GPs from the NHS, and from England to elsewhere with a consequent continued erosion in the standards and quality of care provided.