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Locum doctor working and quality and safety: a qualitative study in English primary and secondary care

Overview of attention for article published in BMJ Quality & Safety, April 2024
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (95th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (60th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
3 news outlets
twitter
32 X users

Citations

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1 Dimensions

Readers on

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2 Mendeley
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Title
Locum doctor working and quality and safety: a qualitative study in English primary and secondary care
Published in
BMJ Quality & Safety, April 2024
DOI 10.1136/bmjqs-2023-016699
Pubmed ID
Authors

Jane Ferguson, Gemma Stringer, Kieran Walshe, Thomas Allen, Christos Grigoroglou, Darren M Ashcroft, Evangelos Kontopantelis

Abstract

The use of temporary doctors, known as locums, has been common practice for managing staffing shortages and maintaining service delivery internationally. However, there has been little empirical research on the implications of locum working for quality and safety. This study aimed to investigate the implications of locum working for quality and safety. Qualitative semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with 130 participants, including locums, patients, permanently employed doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals with governance and recruitment responsibilities for locums across primary and secondary healthcare organisations in the English NHS. Data were collected between March 2021 and April 2022. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis and abductive analysis. Participants described the implications of locum working for quality and safety across five themes: (1) 'familiarity' with an organisation and its patients and staff was essential to delivering safe care; (2) 'balance and stability' of services reliant on locums were seen as at risk of destabilisation and lacking leadership for quality improvement; (3) 'discrimination and exclusion' experienced by locums had negative implications for morale, retention and patient outcomes; (4) 'defensive practice' by locums as a result of perceptions of increased vulnerability and decreased support; (5) clinical governance arrangements, which often did not adequately cover locum doctors. Locum working and how locums were integrated into organisations posed some significant challenges and opportunities for patient safety and quality of care. Organisations should take stock of how they work with the locum workforce to improve not only quality and safety but also locum experience and retention.

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 32 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 2 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 2 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 1 50%
Unspecified 1 50%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Unspecified 1 50%
Engineering 1 50%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 37. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 22 April 2024.
All research outputs
#1,113,755
of 25,774,185 outputs
Outputs from BMJ Quality & Safety
#449
of 2,566 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#7,986
of 169,435 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMJ Quality & Safety
#4
of 10 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,774,185 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 2,566 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.8. This one has done well, scoring higher than 82% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 169,435 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 10 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than 6 of them.