Power RJ
Locumotion is Ireland's first national GP locum service and was launched at the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) annual conference in May 2000. Locumotion is a campus company established in partnership with the Medical School at University College Dublin (UCD) and the ICGP. The service is run by Ray Power who is a practising GP and is modelled on a similar service, Mediventure, he established and ran in Western Australia at UWA for five years. The service was preceded by a national GP survey: 166 questionnaires 56% response rate 100% rural GPs said there was a need for a service 89% expressed an intention to register. Benefits: The reason it has been set up in an academic setting is to insure that the emphasis is on a quality service and that the needs of the locums are met. RACGPTP registrars from Australia can gain recognition of subsequent training time while working with Locumotion in view of the professional support that is provided. The aim therefore is to provide a quality GP placement and education service in Ireland. In the first 4 months since launch the service has 150 registered GPs and 50 registered locums. There have been 200 locum weeks arranged and already practice exchanges are occurring between Ireland and Australia. Already 10 Australian GPs have come to Ireland to work as locums. The key to the success is the balance struck between the service and educational opportunities and a certificate in skills-based medicine (general practice) is available to participating locums through UCD. The model is being proposed as a higher professional development pathway to complement vocational training in general practice and as a structured sabbatical for GPs.
WONCA needs models of support like Locumotion to encourage the cross-fertilization of ideas promoting quality general practice in different countries.