FAQ: What should be in my salaried GP job plan?

A recently retired partner was becoming a salaried GP, and wrote in for some advice.

Is a 10-minute appointment time the standard, or can I negotiate longer?

Fifteen minutes is standard in some places – you can certainly negotiate longer. Whatever consultation length you finally agree to, it must be one that lies within your personal competency and fits in with your professional boundaries.

Are any breaks allowed mid-surgery?

Absolutely – it’s entirely up to you what you finally accept as your contracted hours and breaks. If you settle for something that you’re not going to be happy with, you won’t last long there.

How long do I get to deal with admin after the surgery (referrals, phone calls etc)?

Again, it’s up to you to agree how much time you need to feel comfortable performing this work in the allotted time, within your professional boundaries.

How long should I get for a home visit?

There are no fixed rules here – if you’re having to rush a visit, you’ll put yourself at risk. It’s up to you whether the terms fit your own safe working standards and are within your professional boundaries, only accepting what you know to be safe.

If I did a full day of two sessions, would I get a lunch break built in?

You are entitled to at least 20 uninterrupted minutes, although we recommend at least 30 minutes. It can be paid or unpaid, which is down to you to negotiate. If you don’t take a break, your performance in the afternoon would be equivalent to having drunk a few glasses of wine – it’s always in an employer’s interests to ensure all staff have at least 30 minutes for lunch, and a good employer will insist on it.

If I am expected to deal with path results and referral letters just for patients seen during sessions, what time should be allowed?

Depends on you, and a sensible employer should be realistic about the time you’ll require. Some GPs are comfortable to skip through these sorts of tasks quite quickly, others prefer a lot longer. Our experience is that a lot of salaried GPs end up being dissatisfied with their post because of mounting paperwork, and the longer you remain in post, the more the paperwork becomes, so be realistic about the time you need.

Our rule of thumb is that, on average, practice-based GP consultations generate five minutes of paperwork on the day, and a further five minutes over the following months. Double this if it was for a visit. So if you’re seeing 18 patients in surgery in the morning and 12 in the afternoon, it would not be unusual to within a few months be working an extra five hours on top of the scheduled 5 hours you were actually contracted to work.

"We’ve worked with the NASGP now for over a decade, and have always been impressed with their commitment to promoting a really productive working relationship between practices and GP locums, with the ultimate aim of making sure patients receive the best care, no matter which GP they see."

Lynda Cox, Practice Cover

Lynda Cox, Practice Cover

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