Exclusive: Failure to train locums risks ruining careers

GPs' careers could be wrecked and their patients put at risk because their training fails to fully prepare them to work as locums, a report warns.

Dr Fieldhouse: locums often work in practices ‘where no-one else wants to'

The report's launch comes as the GPC announces plans to consult in 2010 on making local, regional and national GP committees more representative of sessional GPs.

GPs start their careers with no experience outside of 'gold standard' training practices, and are often ill-equipped to work with different IT systems in practices with variable standards and ways of working, the report by the National Association of Sessional GPs (NASGP) says.

The report, GP Locum Core Competences, says locums now account for around 25% of all GPs working in the UK.

It calls on the RCGP and BMA to ensure all GPs qualify with an understanding of the realities of ‘non-practice-based working'.

‘GPs need specific training to develop the special clinical skills required to work as a locum: creating instant rapport, rapid history-taking, quick management planning and bearing risk and uncertainty; ensuring safe hand-over,' the report says.

But it warns that GP trainers are unlikely to have any recent locum experience, and says the RCGP curriculum ‘does not mention locums'.

It adds that ‘governance systems are geared to practice-based GPs'.

NASGP chief executive Dr Richard Fieldhouse said that while GP training practices are well run and well regulated, locums often work in practices ‘where no-one else wants to' or where GPs have been suspended.

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