GP practices using EMIS can now book locums for remote sessions using the National Association for Sessional GPs’ (NASGP) booking platform, LocumDeck.
Previously, EMIS practices were able to use LocumDeck, but only to book in-person sessions.
The NASGP said EMIS practices don’t pay a booking fee when using LocumDeck, just the locum’s fee. Locum GPs pay a fee when signing up for a remote session and NASGP pays for the software licence.
The expansion of the service hopes to help practices that are struggling to recruit locums due to geographical or demographic reasons, such as being rural, deprived, or coastal surgeries. It works in partnership with GP in the Cloud, which enables GPs to access key systems and software remotely.
The change is also available for SystmOne practices, although this has to be done via their ICB so default settings on the system can be changed. This will incur a ‘small cost’ of £7,500 per ICB, which so far has been picked up by the ICBs, according to NASGP. However, they are in discussions with the developer to see if large practices, PCNs or partnerships could also purchase remote access in this way.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chairman and founder of the NASGP, said: ‘There are plenty of practices that really value being able to get that extra layer of support from a dedicated team of remote locums. Booking directly through LocumDeck is what we are now able to offer to any EMIS practice in England, and hopefully, SystmOne practices too, provided we can speak to the right person at the ICB.’
Dr Fieldhouse added that booking locums for remote sessions ‘allows the regular local GPs to deal with the usual complexities of patients who require face-to-face consultations, or are more involved with the nuances of continuity.
‘The smart use of remote locums to support patients with conditions that can easily be managed remotely actually leaves regular GPs more time to focus on patients who require that specific local expertise,’ he added.
Last year, the number of GP locum bookings doubled according to the NASGP.