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13.06.16

Reliance on locum GPs ‘unacceptable’ and risks care quality, says BMA

More locum GPs are working in deprived areas than anywhere else in the country, the BBC has reported following an investigation.

Data analysis found that in some CCG areas, 18% of the GP workforce is made up of locums, compared to a national average of 3.4%.

These are include Bradford City, the most deprived NHS CCG in the country. Likewise, Sandwell and West Birmingham had 11.8% locums and Barking and Dagenham had 9%.

In contrast, the most affluent CCGs had lower rates of locums. For instance, North East Hampshire and Farnham had 4.1%, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead had 3.9% and Chiltern had 1.8%.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the British Medical Association GPs committee, said: “There is a real risk of a variation in care quality between areas and that is unacceptable.”

He warned that reliance on locums meant patients were missing out on continuity of care.

The increasing reliance on locums highlights the shortage in full-time GPs. Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that the GP workforce declined by 1.9% in 2014-15.

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