Locum GPs in Wales will be required to join a new register, it has been announced.
The register has emerged from plans to provide indemnity cover for general practice– and locums will be required to be on the register to qualify for the state-backed indemnity scheme.
Doctors joining the register will undergo “necessary checks” and practices and health boards will be expected to use it as a first port of call, the Welsh government said. The register is to be managed by the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership. It was not clear whether it would offer information about the availability of locums – operating as a government-backed locum agency.
Its creation puzzled GP leaders, who questioned why a second list of approved doctors was needed in addition to the medical performers list.
British Medical Association Welsh GP committee chair Dr Charlotte Jones said: “This does raise the question as to why another list is needed separate to the Medical Performers List as it would make far more sense to ensure this list is fit-for-purpose as all GPs in Wales have to be on it before they can work within Wales and in order to access appraisal and revalidation.
“We expect to be fully involved in any developments of this proposal in line with our statutory representative responsibilities on behalf of all Welsh GPs.”
Dr Nimish Shah, who represents Welsh session GPs, warned of new “bureaucratic hurdles” for doctors.
Dr Shah said: “We are concerned that this proposal is the start of a process of attaching conditions to sessionals working in Wales which would be concerning given the announcements from the Minister that no GP in Wales will be at any disadvantage to their counterparts in England.”
Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething said: “The All Wales Locum Register, another UK first for Wales, will provide information to support a much needed structure for managing and understanding arrangements for locum GPs.
“In the first three months of its operation we will be working with our stakeholders to develop the Terms of Engagement. Over time we plan to work with locums on the All Wales Locum Register to inform an offer to support their wider career aspirations and development needs.”