HC Deb 10 April 2002 vol 383 cc435-6W
Simon Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many locum doctors are available, broken down for primary and secondary care, in(a)England, (b)each NHS region and (c)each health authority; [48059]

(2) what arrangements have been made to ensure there are sufficient locum doctors available in each health authority area; and if he will make a statement; [48063]

(3) if he has plans to increase the use of locum doctors from overseas; and if he will make a statement; [48061]

(4) if his Department monitors the availability of sufficient locum doctors to cover each area in England. [48062]

Mr. Hutton

The information requested is not collected centrally. It is for NHS trusts locally to determine their need for locums and how they are used. However, the Department will be collecting data on medical and dental locums from September 2002 onwards.

From 1 April 2002 all non-principal general practitioners working in the provision of NHS general medical services are required to be on a health authority/primary care trust supplementary list. From June 2002 we will be collecting information on the number of non-principal general practitioners on health authority/primary care trust supplementary lists as part of the GMS census data.

The NHS Plan set out the Government's intention to increase consultant numbers by 7,500 and GPs by 2,000. We expect increases in the number of permanent staff to help reduce demand for locums.

The Department has advertised in Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East for consultants and GPs. In general, international recruitment for doctors is generating a good level of interest from good quality overseas candidates. The majority of positions will be for full-time consultants. However, some trusts may wish to employ the consultants in locum positions with a view to employing them in permanent positions. This would provide the consultants with an opportunity to experience working in the UK before settling into a permanent post and also enable trusts to assess the induction processes required for the doctor.

Mr. Burns

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many locum doctors there were(a)at the latest available date, (b)in 1999, (c)in 1997 and (d)in 1994. [46740]

Mr. Hutton

The Department stopped collecting data for medical and dental locum numbers in 1996. Data for locum general practitioners are not collected.

Available information is shown in the table.

Hospital, Public Health Medicine and Community Health Services (HCHS): medical and dental locum staff
England at 30 September Numbers
1994 3,040
1996 2,760


Department of Health medical and dental workforce census


Figures rounded to the nearest ten

Locums are either persons working in the temporary absence of a doctor/dentist until their return or someone who fills a temporary post for a period of time or a vacant post until it is filled.