A major London trust reported workforce shortages in July because fewer locums wanted to work during the heatwave.

Barts Health Trust said it was not unusual for medical cover to become difficult in July preceding medical examinations, but this year one of its locum suppliers, Bank Partners, noticed locums were “choosing not to work during the very hot weather”, according to trust board papers.

“As a result, minimal staffing levels in ED limited progress against improvement plans and impacted on patient flow,” the trust said.

The trust runs five hospitals across London including the Royal London major trauma centre and is the biggest trust in the capital.

A spokesman for Barts Health told HSJ: “It is the nature of locum working to be selective, and we work with a range of agencies to try to provide adequate cover and reduce costs.

“We encourage cross working between our three emergency departments to fill shifts using our own staff, however where this is not possible we use locum staff to ensure safety,” they said.

Barts told HSJ earlier this year it was delaying adopting new lower rates of locum pay because of fears it would result in staff shortages.