Medisec’s views and recommendations here are influenced by claims and potential claims, serious errors made by locums and issues that have arisen with locum agencies. It was agreed that any GP employing a locum has a responsibility to make the necessary checks and enquiries before the locum commences work in the practice. The following checks were agreed:
- Get sight of Professional Indemnity Insurance and confirmation that indemnity cover is adequate for GP locums. (We understand that the current standard Supplementary Indemnity Cover for GP Trainees with both the MDU and the MPS does not cover locum GP work.)
- Check Medical Council Registration – this can be done very easily from the Medical Council website.
- Confirm that the locum is suitably qualified for GP work
- It was agreed that a telephone reference may be more practical than a written reference although where possible the latter should be sought
- It was noted that the Co-Ops do a Garda clearance check on all new locums and such checks should also be carried out by individual GPs when practicable.
Medisec would also draw your attention to the Medical Council Guidelines 8th Edition 2016:
56.3 Locum and rota arrangements
56.3.1 if you are going to be absent from work, you should make sure that locum cover or other arrangements are in place to protect the safety and welfare of your patients. If you are self-employed, you should make arrangements yourself. You should then make sure that the locum doctor is qualified and registered with the Medical Council. As far as possible, tell your patients about the temporary arrangements that will be in place during your absence (See also paragraph 23 of the Guidelines on handover of patient care).
56.3.2 if you work in a rota system, you should make sure that there I clear communication among the participants, particularly when care is handed over at the beginning and end of shifts. Each person should know who is on duty at any given time.(see also paragraph 22 of the Guidelines on Delegation and Referral).
57 Professional Indemnity
57.1 You must have adequate professional indemnity cover for all healthcare services you provide.