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Suffolk: Locum GPs being offered £1,000 a day to work in surgeries, prisons and walk-in centres in county

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 April 2014

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Health campaigners have voiced concern after it emerged GPs are being offered up to £1,000 a day for temporary work in Suffolk.

Positions in surgeries, prisons and walk-in centres within Suffolk have been advertised with a pay bracket of £500 to £1,000 a day.

The hours vary from sessions of between three and five hours each for general practices to between four and 10 hours at walk-in centres. Both posts could provide up to 10 sessions a week.

Annie Topping, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said: “There are so many competing priorities in healthcare provision and we all have an interest to make sure the limited resources are well spent.

“Ultimately it is the service providers that must ensure best use of the money that they receive to provide a high quality of care to patients.

“At Healthwatch Suffolk we have an interest in ensuring that patients are receiving good quality services and that a positive patient experience is at the heart of service delivery.

“Potentially the use of locums could impact on patient care and we would encourage anybody aware of problems with the services to get in touch.”

At prisons, GPs who have experience of dealing with substance misuse and a separate qualification in this field are preferred. These roles could involve night shift and weekend work, along with days lasting from 8am-8.30pm.

The advert was placed by a medical recruitment company which has previously said locum GPs would be lucky to get the highest rate offered and the wage bracket quoted was a guide for the sort of earnings that were available.

They added high-end wages would involve long hours every day and also depend on the nature of the work, how much notice was given and how long the position was for.

Dr Dan Poulter, health minister and MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, was unavailable for comment but has previously criticised such high locum salaries.

He said last year: “It’s a colossal amount of money and I can’t think there’s any justification for offering that amount of money to locum GPs whatsoever.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said yesterday: “There are over 1,000 more permanent GPs working in the NHS than in September 2010.

“It is up to General Practices to decide how best to use their resources to ensure staffing levels are appropriate.”

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