NHS medics drawn to full-time jobs to sign as substitutes with awards and vacations

Medical agencies trying to poach medics to do locum work in the NHS are offering £ 5,000 Rolex watches and luxury vacations for referrals, it was learned last night.

The tactic has sparked outrage as the health service struggles to fill 93,000 vacancies while trying to clear a backlog of nearly six million patients awaiting treatment.

The NHS already spends £ 6 billion a year on locum doctors and nurses – some of whom are paid £ 4,000 per shift.

The huge payouts – and the incentives – are used to encourage full-time staff to switch to locum shifts.

In return for a colleague’s recommendation, Pertemps Medical is entering the doctors into a raffle, with a Rolex watch or a luxury vacation worth £ 5,000 as the top prize.

Tim Watts, 62, president of the Pertemps recruitment agency, next to a luxury vintage car

The finalists receive the latest iPad from Apple. The recruiting firm’s rivals are offering Amazon vouchers of £ 250 for referrals or up to £ 1,300 in cash. The awards were condemned last night by a Tory MP who is also an NHS hospital doctor.

“The NHS unnecessarily pays over £ 6 billion a year in agency and locum doctor fees,” said Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich.

“Unfortunately, this is another example of the parasitic behavior of locum agencies charging NHS water commissions for the provision of doctors who can only work a few hours.

“It is important that hospitals do more to incentivize their own existing staff to cover any vacant shifts that may arise – for example by paying a little more, which would still be much less than the cost of using a substitute agency.

“In the longer term, the government must finance the necessary increase in the number of doctors in training.

Some NHS trusts have teamed up to create online staff banks where they can fill shift gaps without resorting to agencies.

Replacement agencies insist that they save the health service money by preventing it from having to cover national insurance contributions, pensions or sick pay.

Even before the pandemic, the NHS relied heavily on locums, with nearly one in five doctors in temporary positions in 2018, according to the General Medical Council.

“The NHS unnecessarily pays more than £ 6 billion a year in agency and locum doctor fees,” said Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and doctor at Guys Hospital in London.

It revealed in 2017 that 52% of locum physicians only did locum work and were indeed freelancers. Another 40 percent have an occasional substitute contract in addition to an NHS contract, meaning they are likely to perform after-hours or weekend substitute shifts.

Last week Pertemps advertised ‘nationwide opportunities’ for NHS or private sector locum gastroenterologists offering more than £ 110 an hour – £ 1,320 for a shift on call. 12 hours.

The ad makes it clear that high pay rates are a key incentive. He says alternate work may be of interest to doctors who want to “work closer to home, broaden their horizons in a new hospital, or just think you can get a higher rate of pay.”

Another agency, Triple West Medical, was offering £ 105 per hour for a locum histopathology consultant in Lancashire and £ 95 per hour for a locum oral and maxillofacial surgery consultant in Greater Manchester.

It offers a reward of £ 250 for referrals. As part of the Pertemps “sponsor and win” program, a doctor who sponsors a colleague participates in a raffle after the individual has worked 40 hours.

Presented with a photo of an idyllic tropical beach, the first prize of the offer is

Featured with a photo of an idyllic tropical beach, the first prize of the offer is “a luxury vacation or a watch of your choice worth up to £ 5,000”.

Promoted with a photo of an idyllic tropical beach, the first prize of the offer is “a luxury vacation or a watch of your choice worth up to £ 5,000”. The job postings read: “An added bonus for our doctors – don’t forget to check out our brand new referral program where you could win a £ 5,000 vacation, a Rolex or an iPad!”

Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, said: “These are desperate measures in desperate times. The government must take back control.

Adam Parrish, CEO of Pertemps Medical, stressed that its commissions are regulated and approved.

“With the pressure on the NHS and waiting lists, agencies are providing an essential service by providing doctors to the NHS to assist them in their response to Covid and to deal with increasing patient backlogs,” a- he declared. “Our referral programs are provided at our own expense. “

He said locums had increased the number of doctors “available for the NHS at an extremely critical time” and that the eventual cost was “often” lower for the health service.

Pertemps, which started its activities in the Midlands in 1961, is chaired by Tim Watts, son of the founder Constance.

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