HC Deb 04 May 1999 vol 330 cc355-6W
Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on developing an accreditation system for doctors who are long-term locums; and if he will make a statement. [82769]

Mr. Denham

The Audit Commission recommended an accreditation system for long-term locum doctors in its report "Cover Story: the use of locum doctors in NHS trusts" which was published on 21 April.

We are committed to quality assurance and support for all doctors, not just locums. We have already confirmed our support for the General Medical Council's proposals. These will require all doctors to demonstrate that they remain fit to practise in their chosen field, whether employed in a substantive or a locum post in hospitals or general practice. This will be achieved by a process of revalidation of each doctor's GMC registration. The GMC has identified locum doctors as a specific group to which it will need to pay particular attention. We will be working closely with the GMC over the next two years as these proposals are developed.

The Audit Commission makes clear that full and consistent implementation of our "Code of Practice" by trusts will help to assure the appointment, management and quality of locum doctors. We will be looking very carefully at the Audit Commission's findings and their recommendations to see whether we need to take further action to encourage implementation of our Code and whether any changes are required.