Health Minister Vaughan Gething has announced that Wales will be the first nation in the UK to introduce a locum register from April this year.
The introduction of the All Wales Locum Register will be an innovation in primary care, providing the Welsh government with information and a greater understanding of the locum market, and how they can support general practice in the future.
The use of temporary staffing capacity is an essential part of the primary care workforce, covering unexpected events, such as sickness absence, and planned events, such as annual leave or maternity cover.
While the number of GP practitioners in Wales has remained largely stable in recent years, the number of GP locums has increased year-on-year.
With the aim of better understanding this primary care workforce demographic in Wales to inform more effective workforce planning – the All Wales Locum Register will provide vital intelligence for responding appropriately to this growth.
In order to access the state-backed indemnity scheme which will indemnify individuals against claims arising from clinical negligence for NHS work, locum GPs will have to enter onto the All Wales Locum Register.
NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership will manage the register, ensuring that necessary checks are carried out. The register will be available for practices and health boards as a first port of call in recruiting locum cover.
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.’