GP locum rates increased in some parts of the UK over past year, poll suggests

Average rates paid to locum GPs by practices have risen in some parts of the UK, while other areas have seen fees fall, according to analysis by GPonline's sister site GP Business.

Locum rates (Photo: Getty Images)
Locum rates (Photo: Getty Images)

In its annual survey on the rates locums are paid for work booked directly with practices, GP Business (formerly Medeconomics) found that average hourly rates remained broadly similar to those recorded in 2020. However daily rates charged by locum GPs rose in some parts of the country but fell in others.

Across England as a whole, both the average hourly rates and average daily rates charged by locum GPs remained static compared with 2020. However, regional figures saw greater variation.

The South of England saw a 3.7% rise in the daily rates charged by locum GPs and the North of England a 3.6% rise when compared with figures for 2020. However, the average daily rate charged in the Midlands and East of England fell by 2.9%, while the average daily rate in London was down a by 6.4%.

Hourly rates charged by locum GPs

There was a 1% increase in the hourly rates charged by locum GPs in the Midlands and East of England and a 1% fall in the hourly rate charged by those in London when compared with 2020. Figures for the South of England and North of England remained the same as those a year ago.

In England, only 18% of respondents to the poll said that they had increased their rates over the past 12 months. Some 78% said that their rates had remained the same and just 4% said they had cut their rates.

The survey also pointed to a mixed picture in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where locum GPs mostly reported daily rates charged. The average daily rate in Wales was up by 5.4% and in Scotland by 1.9% compared with last year, but daily rates had remained the same in Northern Ireland.

Some 441 GPs across the UK undertaking locum work responded to the poll, which also found that demand for locum GPs had soared in the past 12 months.

Increase in demand for locum GPs

Of those respondents who were working as a locum GP a year ago, 62% said that demand for their services had increased in the previous 12 months, 25% said it had remained the same and 13% said demand had fallen.

Among those locum GPs who had increased their rates during the past year common reasons for doing so included increased workload, longer hours and increased demand.

Locum GPs who said their rates had remained the same were most likely to suggest this was because they enjoyed working regularly for the practices they currently had arrangements with and wanted to continue to work there.

Several locum GPs responding to the poll suggested that they intended to increase their rates in the coming months to match the 3% pay rise salaried GPs had been awarded earlier this year.

Meanwhile, a number of locum GPs who said their rates had fallen cited an increased number of remote sessions 'which pay less' as a key reason.

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