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Locum Agencies

Volume 977: debated on Monday 28 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he has withdrawn his circular proposing radical changes in the way in which locum agencies operate; if he has now considered the code of practice drawn up by the federation concerned; what sanctions are applicable to those locum agencies which break the code or which are not members of the federation; and if he will make a statement.

I am pleased to announce agreement between the Department and the Federation of Personnel Services on a code of practice for agencies supplying locum tenens medical and dental staff, and I am sending the hon. Member a copy. The code of practice should ensure that the necessary safeguards are applied by agencies and employing authorities alike. It will enable agreement on mutually satisfactory charges, which will take into account the remuneration of doctors, who are engaged directly. I expect NHS authorities to confine their use of such agencies to those which comply with the code of practice.