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REC Medical responds to Health Secretary proposals

REC Medical responds to Health Secretary proposals
The REC has responded to the announcement on out-of-hours care by the new Health Secretary Andrew Lansley by underlining the crucial role played by locum doctors and other temporary staff within the NHS.
According to the plans outlined by the Health Secretary, family doctors will be forced to take back responsibility for out-of-hours care, although this will not be a straightforward return to the old system where GPs had to be on call round the clock. The intention is for budgetary responsibility to be handed back from primary care trusts to GPs who will commission services or provide them by working in rotas through local groups.
Commenting on the plans, Tom Hadley, the RECs Director of External Relations says:
Whoever holds budgetary responsibility, the key is to ensure that patients receive the right levels of care. Locum doctors and other temporary staff provide crucial front line services and their contribution must not be marginalised, especially as working time rules now place strict limits on individual GP working hours. Despite the focus on new rota systems, specialised recruitment agencies will continue to provide a cost effective means of ensuring that the right staff are in the right place at the right time.
The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley also commented on the need to ensure that overseas doctors have the right language skills. This follows the incident involving German doctor Daniel Ubani who gave a 70 year old patient, David Gray, a fatal overdose.
Commenting on this issue, Hadley concludes:
There is scope to review the GMCs ability to take language skills into account when registering doctors from other European countries. However there will always be a need for an effective assessment process at Trust level and for other vetting procedures to take place with regards to CRBs, references and ID checks. The REC Medical Group will continue to emphasise the positive role that specialised locum agencies play in ensuring that all doctors have the necessary skills and credentials before they are placed on site.


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