Failure of Stalinist measures: Disengaged and disillusioned – Locums hold an advantage which cannot be corrected for a decade..

Politicians, even right wing ones, don’t believe in market forces when it suits them. The crisis in Locum Pay will remain for a decade unless the government legislates to ban agencies, and forms one state supply agency for Nurses and Doctors. A state monopoly would ensure that pay was capped, but it would not stop doctors and nurses going abroad, or part-time, or into other careers. Prolonged rationing by undercapacity has come home to haunt us all ..Its going to get worse.. It seems the Stalinist attempts at control have failed.. There is even inflation since April! (And a GP does tell the Times “as it is” in Primary Care…. )

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Henry Bodkin in the Telegraph reported in February 2017: NHS doctors banned from charging ‘rip-off’ locum rates for extra shifts 

Dennis Campbell reported 14th April 2017: Desperate hospitals beg doctors to take on extra shifts – at £95 an hour

Amid warnings chronic understaffing is putting patient safety at risk, emails and texts highlight struggle to meet need

Katie Foster in the Independent 2nd May 2017 reports: One in 30 locum doctors earn £1200 for ten-hour NHS shift, reveal new figures

Chris Smyth in the Times reports 2nd May 2017: Locums breach £120 an hour pay cap in NHS staffing crisis

Locum pay has risen to its highest level on record as hospitals struggle to find enough doctors to keep wards running.

Four in five shifts by stand-in doctors now exceed pay caps, according to data that suggests that the logic of supply and demand has defeated efforts to control spending on temporary staff. One in 30 locums now earns more than £120 an hour as hospitals find no other way to attract qualified staff.

The data from Liaison, a company that processes hospital locum payments, shows that average hourly pay has bounced back to £64.17 in the three months to December, beating the £63.61 seen before pay caps were introduced. In these three months 80 per cent of all locum hours were paid above the cap, up from 64 per cent in the previous three months.

Doctors have insisted that they are simply taking the market rate for specialist skills, arguing that the blame for high costs should be placed on an NHS failure to train enough staff.

Pay for agency staff was capped in 2015 and locums are now meant to be paid no more than 55 per cent above permanent rates, equivalent to about £76 for a stand-in consultant and £36 for a junior doctor. Regulators say that this cut £900 million off a £3.6 billion agency bill, but concede that most of the savings came from nursing and other staff. Some locums are still in a stand-off with hospitals over rules that ban payments through personal service companies to reduce tax…..

Stand-in staff are meant to be paid no more than 55 more than permanent rates, but this can be breached if there is a ‘significant risk’ to patient safety

Jeremy Hunt and the DOH attempt Stalinist refrain on locum pay in the NHS?

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Professionals, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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