Festive seasonal Greetings from everyone at Elocum24 – We hope you end the year safely and 2022 brings good fortune health and happiness

Where have all the locums gone?

A lot of practice managers are scratching their heads wondering where all the locums have gone as they are finding it more difficult to get cover for holidays.

During the peak of Covid, locum GPs experienced the unthinkable, the fertile lush locum landscape became dry and barren. Work had dried up to such an extent that locums were lining up in the dole queue.

General practice had closed its doors. In the supply and demand market, demand was low, the rug had been pulled and locums were left scrambling.

When restrictions eased and vaccinations were plentiful, and the market bounced back with soaring demand. Surgeries were again calling upon locums.

They perhaps assumed that locums, like bears, would simply emerge from hibernation when conditions were favourable again. Locums unlike bears do not live-in caves but have mortgages and bills to pay.

Those whose desperation exceeded their fear of COVID manned the COVID hot hubs, working the front line with just a prayer and little PPE. Some managed to slot into a salaried post or retired if they were able. Many found haven in the digital private sector, which was experiencing accelerated growth by a public that could not access the NHS.

According to NHS digital the number of salaried GPs in oct 2021 increased from 25% to 41% compared to Sep 2015 and locum GPs represent 5% of the GP workforce.

NHS Digital

A lot of surgeries missed a great opportunity to build enduring loyal and lasting relationships.

The overall locum pool has shrunk for now, but in the ebb and flow of the market and increased government demand for face-to-face appointments, no doubt locums will be increasingly called upon for help.

GPs with a Side Hustle

Covid has taught us one thing and that is not to put all your eggs in one basket, we look at GPs who have a side hustle.

Dr Clare Sieber
GP & CEDR-Accredited Commercial, Workplace, and Civil Mediator

Legal wormhole

Reading the recent Toombes v Mitchel case can make one feel like they have fallen through a wormhole into a strange world with no logic or reason.

This case was so baffling that even Daily Mail readers were scratching their heads.

A GP was successfully sued for not giving adequate folic acid perinatal advice 20 years earlier to a mother who subsequently had a child born with a spinal defect.

The GP had little recollection of the consultation but had written.

In his statement, Dr Mitchell said at the time, his normal advice to patients was to tell them that 'relevant guidance recommends folic acid supplementation of 400 µg daily for women preparing for pregnancy and during the first trimester.

The Judge ruled that the defence of “usual practice” is not strong enough and accepted that the mother's version that she had not been told about the association of folic acid and Spina Bifida.

A bizarre twist to the case, folic acid does not prevent the type of spinal defect the plaintiff was born with, however, the mother felt that had she known about the importance of folic acid then she would have delayed conception by a month by which time she would have probably had a normal child.

The Judge concurred with this argument and the ruling could potentially result in millions of pounds being awarded.
There is a strong sense of solidarity for Dr Mitchel within the GP fraternity, as we all recognise that this could have been any one of us.


What’s new at E24 Pussycat?

We are creating a remote module to allow locums to book shifts for home working, 2021 is going to see a super growth of more locums working digitally online.

News flash

QOF is on ice

Part of QOF will be suspended and income suspended until April to allow practices to concentrate on covid vaccinations.

Life savers – red flags you don’t want to miss

Patients of any age presenting with dysphagia should be offered endoscopy under the two-week wait to rule out oesophageal or stomach cancer.

TAX Facts

As a self-employed locum working in a temporary place of work you can claim daily lunch/dinner as an expense.

Rates are set by HMRC —

  • £5 if you are away from home for 5 hours+
  • £10 for 10 hours+
  • £25 for 15 hours+ or more, or if the travel is ongoing after 8pm

(check with your accountant)

Are locum rates higher in the North or South? Watch the video to know.

Burnout busting

Just like we schedule work and all the chores that we have to do- we need to schedule some FUN into our calendar!

Something that is purely fun and chill either on your own or with friends. Ideally a regular monthly event.

I am starting with a date night every month, off load the kids to grandma and take the Mrs out for a night of fun. There’s a steak restaurant I have been recommended by a friend.

What’s your chill?

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