Locum blogs

But what if all GPs were locums?

Crazy as it sounds, this is a rhetorical question I often hear, and you may have heard it too. Though it doesn’t seem to be asked as a genuine question, more as an attempt to somehow justify the fact we absolutely need GP partners and salaried GPs and, by implication, that we therefore have to…
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Locuming; it takes skill, needs training

Over 2,000 doctors will have qualified as GPs in the last 12 months, each having spent in the region of two years working in at least one, possibly several, GP surgeries. These surgeries will all have met the RCGP’s strict standards for training practices, all with the intention of providing our new colleagues with the…
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When a locum cancels a session

No matter what the reason, the sudden unavailability of a doctor or nurse is at the very least upsetting for patients, and in some cases can have serious adverse consequences on patient care. Practice staff go frantic having to rearrange appointments or find alternative cover. We all get ill Cancellation at short notice is always…
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Does continuity of care need a reality check?

Continuity of care, defined by care given continuously by one doctor, is one of the most frequently talked about modalities of care provided by GPs; it’s the one we collectively feel that’s under threat, the one we’re trying to defend, and the one the government has picked up on to protect and promote. It enables…
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Setting up a limited company for locum work for GPs

You can potentially save tax/NIC by putting freelance income through a limited company: however, you are not permitted to pension such income through the NHS scheme. Now that the practices are responsible for paying the 14.3% employers contribution - and are using that to negotiate fees downwards (unless you're part of a locum chambers where…
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GP locums – achieve a good work-life balance

All too often, being a GP locum is not about working when and where you want, says Dr Judith Harvey. Build time into your schedule to spend quality time with your family – there is no point working full-out to retirement and then regretting missing your children’s defining moments Surely being a GP locum is…
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GP locums – When to blow the whistle in the NHS

Should you 'blow the whistle' if you suspect a practice is failing? Dr Judith Harvey provides valuable advice.   As a locum, you are in a very strong position. Sitting in colleagues' rooms, reading their patients' notes and using their equipment means you see practices from the inside. You are also in a very weak position.…
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GP locums need dedicated training

Dr Judith Harvey explains why it is vital to devise a support system for the freelance GP workforce. Today around 100,000 patients will consult a locum GP. Locums keep the show on the road. At any one time a quarter of the GPs at work will be locums. Yet the RCGP curriculum has little to…
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Who wouldn’t want to be a locum?

A good locum is never short of work because locuming is a special skill. Walking into an unknown practice to see 30 unknown patients and departing four hours later, leaving not only those patients but also the staff with positive impressions, is a challenge. But for those who can develop the flexibility, being a locum…
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Paying tax as a locum GP

Tax avoidance has been a prominent topic in the news in recent weeks, with reports of high earners paying minimal tax. What is the background to this? First it is important to understand the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. Tax evasion is illegal and can land you in jail. Tax avoidance means using…
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National Insurance – don’t pay more than you need to

It’s a while since I’ve written about National Insurance and, with rates and contribution ceilings increasing over the years, this is an expensive additional tax, so more than ever you don’t want to be paying more than you need. There are 4 classes of National Insurance contributions: Class 1 – payable by employees and employers…
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