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Locum tax issue

Medical regulator issues guidance on contractual obligations

Susan Goldsmith, Deputy Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Medical Council, said:

'We are aware that some locum doctors have told hospitals that they may withdraw services following new tax rules coming into effect. While matters of pay and contracts are for individual trusts to resolve with those staff, our chief concern is patient safety.

‘Health services are under severe pressure and we know that providers and the medical profession are working hard to cope with demand. Any unreasonable withdrawal of staff may exacerbate that pressure, and we would expect doctors planning to withdraw their services would give sufficient notice in line with their contractual agreements.

'In this way disruption to patient care and risk to patient safety can be minimised, and doctors can adhere to our core guidance for the profession, Good medical practice. That states: “Patient safety may be affected if there is not enough medical cover. So you must take up any post you have formally accepted, and work your contractual notice period before leaving a job, unless the employer has reasonable time to make other arrangements.”