Finding GP locums
The booking feature of LocumDeck is called Instant Book. The first steps to finding and booking GPs are:
- Ensure you have Activated LocumDeck’s Instant Book feature in LocumDeck >> Settings
- Encourage locum colleagues to come on board LocumDeck and activate Instant Book sessions for your practice so you can start booking them.
GP locums are then notified, and can link with your practice and activate Instant Book sessions before their availability will become visible to you.
The ultimate vision of Instant Book is that, when enough practices and locums realise how powerful it is, finding GP locum cover will simply be a matter of going to your LocumDeck calendar, selecting the cover you need from all of the GPs who have proactively activated Instant Book sessions for your practice, and making a booking - instantly. The whole process taking seconds to minutes.
LocumDeck’s Instant Book feature is new and momentum needs to build by encouraging locums and other practices to join.
Once your practice is added to LocumDeck’s list of practices, you become visible to GP locums on LocumDeck.
To get on the list
- Go to LocumDeck >> Settings
- Complete the necessary practice information.
- At the bottom of the page, activate LocumDeck’s Instant Book feature.
- Click Update
- This adds you to LocumDeck’s list of practices
You are now visible on LocumDeck, and GPs within 45 minute radius are also notified by email that you are onboard.
- After you signed up and completed your LocumDeck >> Settings, all GP locums within 45 minute travel radius were automatically notified by email that your practice is onboard.
- You can also invite your locum colleagues who aren’t yet on LocumDeck:
- Go to Invite locums in your LocumDeck menu.
- Create a list of your GP locum colleagues and ‘Invite all’ sends them email invites.
Clicking on the GP’s name anywhere you see it in LocumDeck will open their profile. From there, you can see the GP’s GMC number. Within Credentials, GP locums can upload important documents ready for you to review before making your booking decision.
Please note that, as clearly stated in LocumDeck’s Terms and conditions, the practice is responsible for checking the credentials and suitability of the GP before engaging them. LocumDeck is an automated platform that facilitates your direct engagement with GP locums in the hope that this will help you build sustainable relationships with local, flexible GPs. As such, NASGP cannot and does not carry out any checks of the GP locums who use LocumDeck.
You can use Request availability to add your required dates and times. This encourages local GP locums to set your practice up for Instant Book and add their availability to their calendars, allowing you to then see what GPs are available and precise details of what cover they are able to offer you on your required dates. You are notified by email if a locum has been able to add any committed availability for your practice. You can then browse LocumDeck and choose if any are suitable for booking. The simplest way to book the locum is via Instant Book. But sometimes GP locums may approach you by other routes to set up a booking.
The ultimate aim is that one day you will never have to Request availability, as GP locums pro-actively add their availability and all you have to do is search and book.
You are not committed to making any booking after you’ve requested availability. The request acts as an indicator to local GP locums that there is demand on certain dates and nudges them to add availability and activate sessions for Instant Book for your practice.
So you are not inconveniencing anyone or misleading anyone if you later decide you no longer need a GP locum and you don’t need to take any action to reverse the availability request.
About Instant Book
GP locums have to specifically activate certain sessions for Instant Book in your practice. The concept of GPs agreeing in advance to committing themselves to availability is new. There may be some barriers to GPs opening this up that you can help them with:
- Reassurance - the GP defines the terms of the sessions that they make available to you for Instant Book so you can reassure the GP locum that they will only be booked for work that they have defined, pre-agreed to and therefore feel competent to carry out in your practice.
- Cost - use of LocumDeck and Instant Book is completely free to practices. But locums are charged a small fee for Instant Book sessions to cover the costs of maintaining LocumDeck. We charge the locum this fee because NASGP is a membership organisation supporting locums and LocumDeck is a locum-led initiative to help GP locums protect their safe working standards, and we want to be transparent that they are our ‘customer’. The fee is a fraction of the charge made by agencies, but in times of soaring indemnity costs, some locums may be off by this. If you think that the reward of being able to Instant Book GP locum cover - literally one-click to a confirmed booking - is worth a small charge - tiny compared to an agency fee - then perhaps let your locum colleagues know that you don’t mind if they adjust their fee to reflect this cost.
There are two important things you need before being ready to Instant Book.
- Ensure you have Activated LocumDeck’s Instant Book feature in LocumDeck >> Settings.
- Encourage locum colleagues to come on board LocumDeck and activate Instant Book sessions for your practice to Instant Book them.
In under 9 minutes, get a reminder on how to set up Instant Book, see a live demo of an Instant Book from the practice and locum perspective and find out about the Search filters and date range search.
All bookings on LocumDeck, including those made via Instant Book, are direct engagements between the practice and GP locum. Therefore, if the practice needs to cancel a booking, they must contact the GP locum directly. Contact details for the GP locum will be on all confirmation bookings emails and invoices. GP locums may also occasionally choose to share their contact details in their LocumDeck profiles.
The GP locum’s own cancellation policy, specified in their individual Terms and Conditions will apply.
Once the GP locum has been informed of the cancellation, they can proceed with the cancellation process from their LocumDeck.
Once GP locums have linked with you on LocumDeck you will be able to see their ‘Committed availability’ and any booked sessions you have with them. You can click any of the calendar entries to see full details.
For easy reference, sessions of different status are colour-coded:
- Green for Confirmed sessions;
- Yellow for Confirmation request sessions the GP locum has offered you that are awaiting your confirmation.
- Red for ‘Committed Availability’ that the locum is offering for Instant Book
GP locums have to opt to link with you on LocumDeck by adding your practice to their personal address book before they are visible on your calendar. If your calendar is empty, it means that no GP locums have yet linked with your practice.
LocumDeck was only recently launched so if we want to get this service working to its full potential, we need to spread the word to get our colleagues onboard.
Top tip - if you see an empty calendar and you have branch surgeries, make sure you toggle between all your surgeries using the selector box - they will each have their separate calendar which will individually display the Committed availability and bookings.
GP locum bookings
LocumDeck is a flexible tool that facilitates your direct interaction with GP locums. It is not ‘just’ a booking platform or a job marketplace. It’s more of a complete locum management system, especially when you use it alongside Spip’s LocumPack. So you can use it to help manage bookings on several levels, depending on your preference and the locum you’re dealing with
- At its simplest, you get clear calendar and table summaries of past and upcoming bookings and invoices with all your locums.
- Smart, quick confirmation system if making bookings in the traditional way, giving you both an audit trail of work agreed.
- At its most sophisticated, there is Instant Book.
If you have an established network of locums and you all prefer to continue using the traditional reactive route of making bookings then LocumDeck is great at helping you keep a track of your sessions and invoices. Here’s how:
- Let your GPs know you’d like to use LocumDeck - you can use Invite locums - urge them to sign up as they’ll get a “really brilliant”, according to our members, suite of automated invoicing, pensioning and Bookkeeper tools as part of their NASGP membership fee - currently £11/month.
- The locums adds any work you agree with them, and if they use LocumDeck’s confirmation system, you will both get booking and invoicing emails and a live summary of bookings and invoices - for all your locums.
If you’re making bookings using the traditional route of contacting the locum directly, you may get yellow ‘Confirmation requested’ sessions appearing in your calendar along with emails to the practice manager and booking contact, asking you to “Please confirm these locum GP sessions”.
This means the locum has added these session details to their calendar and is asking you to review and confirm the booking.
If you want to confirm the sessions, you can do this either from the blue confirmation link within the “Please confirm these locum GP sessions” email.
Or online within LocumDeck
- Open the session details by clicking on the yellow session on your calendar
- Click the blue tick icon at the end of the session detail line. This will take you to your Confirm bookings page.
- Use the white tickbox next to select the relevant Booking
- Finally click the green Confirm button. The booking is now confirmed. Confirmation emails are sent to both practice and locum and your calendars are both updated.
If you don’t want to confirm the booking or need to make changes, then please contact the GP locum directly. One option is to do this by replying to the “Please confirm these locum GP sessions” email.
All bookings on LocumDeck, made by whatever route, are direct engagements between the practice and the GP locum. Therefore, if you need to cancel a booking, you must contact the GP locum directly. Contact details for the GP locum will be on all confirmation bookings emails and invoices. GP locums may also occasionally choose to share their contact details in their LocumDeck profiles.
The GP locum’s own cancellation policy, specified in their individual Terms and Conditions, will apply.
Once the GP locum has been informed of the cancellation, they can proceed with the cancellation from their LocumDeck.
No. LocumDeck is not an agency or formal booking platform. It is designed to facilitate direct engagement between GP locums and practices. The GP locum can therefore specify their own personalised terms and conditions, which are then easily accessible to practices on emails and within the GP locum's LocumDeck profile.
Bookings on LocumDeck are direct engagements between the practice and GP locum. Therefore invoices are sent by the GP locum directly to the practice. Payment is made directly by the practice to the GP locum as per the payment terms contained on their customised invoice.
When a GP locum generates an invoice, the practice manager and invoicing contact get an email notification with the details of the work being charged for within the email and, if the locum is pensioning the work, the form A will be attached as a PDF.
You also have within LocumDeck an Invoices area which helps you keep a track of all your invoicing and payment activity for all your locums.
- Go to LocumDeck >> Invoices.
- In the Status column click on the green tick to mark an invoice as ‘Payment sent’
This automatically updates the GPs invoice record so they know to look out for your payment.
Once they receive payment, they can mark the invoice as ‘Payment received’
Everything your clinicians need to know to manage patients in your practice.
Home visits are some of the most complicated activities that GPs do. Away from electronic records, usually after a busy surgery, through traffic, to sick or frail patients, often with multiple problems and anxious carers.
Our template helps you make the whole process go much more smoothly.
And don't forget, your Spip practice pack can be accessed via smartphone too.
These allow clinicians to make a physical record of every consultation that needs referral, reducing the likelihood of a referral going missing.
To get the most out of your freelance GPs and minimise stress to your practice staff and disruption for patients, it is helpful to have the following in place in time for your GPs to smoothly start their session.
The best person to let you know when a room needs reequipping is the last person that used it. Print some of these out and pin to each room's notice board.
When it comes to managing a patient in a GP surgery, we need access to one of atleast 200 items of information that are specific to that practice. If we can't recall this from memory, or it's not immediately accessible, retrieving this information can waste precious minutes or even hours of our time, a colleagues time and , most importantly, our patients time and even put a patient's health at risk.
It's those 200 bits of local, practice-based, non-clinical information that Spip enables practices to provide for all clinicians caring for their patients:
- How do I organise an urgent ECG in the middle of a busy surgery?
- What do I tell a patient about how they will be informed of abnormal blood tests?
- Which helicobacter pylori test is used at this practice?
- I've seen a nine year old boy with suspected testicular torsion who needs emergency referral. Which team do I refer him to?
- The local DVT pathway says 'Do a D-dimer test'. How is this done at this practice?
- Where are echocardiograms carried out? How do I request one? What do I tell the patient about the appointment-making process?
- I've requested a chest x-ray on a 68 year old man with a cough. How do I alert his usual GP that he may have a significant diagnosis?
- What's the extension number for main reception?
- Who's the practice's child safeguarding lead?
- I need a foreign language interpreter.
- How do I organise an urgent coil fitting as emergency contraception?
- What's the door access code to the toilet?
Spip contains over 200 similar, simple-yet-essential everyday scenarios.
Think of Spip as the information air traffic control of your GP practice, while services like DXS and Map of Medicine are the different airlines. Information used in GP practices comes from many different internal and external sources, and DXS/Map of Medicine are only one of these, and are generally outside the control of the practice.
Spip is practice-specific, focused on enabling a Clinician at the point of use to run a safe, effective and efficient consultation, or a Staff member referring to up-to-date information about practice processes. This encompasses far more than is contained in a local guideline.
For example, a local guideline may simply state “Arrange urgent ultrasound scan”. Enacting this seemingly simple instruction will actually involve the Clinician having access to lots of bits of information about how your practice works:
- How do I organise an urgent ultrasound in this practice?
- Do I just send a form or do I also have to phone radiology?
- Where are the referral forms?
- How does this practice handle urgent referrals?
- What’s this practice’s policy on informing the patient of the results?
- Is completely controlled by you and is centred around your practice rather than the CCG.
- Does not require an NHS smartcard, and is not integrated into the clinical system. So it can be accessed by any clinician from a smartphone or from home, during visits, and before visiting a practice for locum work for the first time - or any time!
- Uses a standardised format - all practice Spips have exactly the same structure - which is quick and easy to navigate, so you can direct Clinicians to key information about how your practice works and how you link up to local guidelines.
They - being a GP, nurse, locum or new team member - could just ask the receptionist, but
- the receptionist may not know the answer. Often this is the case, and a time-consuming game of "Pass the parcel" ensues, taking up time of multiple staff. This is no bad reflection on anyone in the practice team; it's just there's so much to know and it's always changing, so it is not reasonable to expect the duty admin team to be 'know it alls'.
- it wastes time - not just the person seeking information (often a GP in the middle of a busy surgery), but the receptionists too.
- it undermines the GP-patient relationship: "...if the GP doesn't even know how to refer me to physiotherapy, how do I know she's even made the correct diagnosis? I know, I'll rebook to see another GP!".
- The person who initially sets up a Spip takes on the lead role, known as 'Practice', is responsible for administrative tasks such as managing other Spip users e.g. controlling who can view and edit Spip.
- Therefore, usually the practice manager is best placed to initially set up a Spip by registering for Practice Manager membership of the NASGP.
- Spip is included free as part of Practice Manager membership.
- You will need an NHS email address ending in
- Once your Spip has been created, you can change your email address to a non-NHS email.
- If you are a locum GP who wants to be involved in creating Spips for practices you work in, you can become a 'Spip Clinician' by registering with the NASGP as an Associate (free) or Full member. Once signed in, you will be able to 'Invite new GP practice' to create a Spip.
- If you are a GP wishing to create a Spip for your own practice, unless you want to take on the administrative tasks of managing Spip users, the best route is to ask your practice manager to register for Practice Manager membership and set you up as a 'Spip Editor'.
Spip can help with CQC compliance
Spip is 'CQC ready', with a dedicated section to easily categorise, store and display all your necessary policies.
Spip is a great way to demonstrate to the CQC that the right information is available at the right time to all members of your practice team to allow effective implementation of all your practice procedures. So Spip will not only provide you with a 'go to' place for your team to refer to and update information, in creating it, you will also making your CQC compliance less onerous.
See what the CQC has to say about Practice packs.
- Spip allows you to upload, link and add freetext notes for handy summaries and 'soft intelligence' about key practice operational procedures. It is a live, interactive, centrally updatable system designed to be easily searched and navigated.
- Once you’re up and running with Spip you will be able to show the CQC that your Staff and Clinicians need never be more than 3 clicks away from information they need.
- GPs can already access key practice policy information that directly affect them as Clinicians e.g. chaperone policy, complaints procedure, clinical handovers, appointment system and access arrangements, practice prescribing procedures, contamination incidents etc.
Managing risk and quality
Monitoring quality of services
- On every Spip page displayed to your team there is a feedback comment system with a prompt to report any problems with a service at the point of use. This intelligence can be collated by the practice for discussion at internal meetings and/or to be raised with the local commissioners and providers.
Patient communication and reducing risk
- Throughout Spip you are prompted to add detailed information about Safety netting, missing results procedures, delayed referrals etc.
- The aim is for everyone in the team to have this information available quickly so that after every patient contact, it is clear to the patient and the practice what is expected next.
Co-operation with other providers of services
Spip is designed to provide up-to-date information which the Clinician can access at the point of need. You have the option of adding enriched information about each service which would equip the Clinician with
- Awareness of the existence of a service.
- Understanding exactly what the service does; the boundaries of roles and responsibilities between the service and the practice, fostering good team working.
- How to access the service and up-to-date resources to do this e.g. referral forms etc
- What to tell the patient about what to expect next.
- Interactive feedback; ability to leave comments or tips for future Clinicians; ability to report a problem with the service; ability to inform you if service details need updating.
15 years ago, locum GP and NASGP chairman, Dr Richard Fieldhouse was named ‘Sessional GP of the Year’ by the Doctor newspaper. The award recognised his development of the inspired GP ‘Practice Pack’, in essence, a one-stop paper portfolio for busy GPs which could be updated with a practice’s key information, such as local referral pathways and vital admin information.
Fast forward to 2015 and the need for such readily accessible, highly localised and practice-specific information, is even more compelling as health care tends to be delivered by an ever-increasing and ever-changing array of services and teams. In the intervening years technology has transformed how such information may be stored, accessed and updated.
So Spip – a secure online platform inspired by the earlier paper version - has taken over two years for Sara Chambers and Richard Fieldhouse to develop. Both are sessional GPs with over 35 years collective experience of having worked in over 150 different GP surgeries throughout their GP careers.
MPS have supported the development of Spip and CQC have helped with advice.
- Starting August 2016, Practice Manager membership of the NASGP is now free. Spip comes free with that membership.
- Spip has the additional capability to link with any local networks (CCGs, federations, practice hubs etc), for which that network will pay a small monthly charge of no more than £24 for each practice it links to.
- It's also always free to Editors, Clinicians and Staff.
- A Practice will be able to add as many Editors, Clinicians or Staff it needs; although all users have to sign in with an email and a password, they will never have to pay to join the NASGP.
- A Practice can cancel their membership at any time.
- A Practice can ask us to remove all their data at any time, otherwise we will automatically remove all Spip data after one year. A Practice, and therefore all its Clinicians, Staff etc can re-access its Spip at anytime simply by rejoining.
The entire NASGP website, including Practeus and its associated components LocumDeck and Spip, is hosted on a dedicated server by FastUK in London, using ISO 27001 and ISO 9001. All data during transmission is encrypted and authenticated using AES 128 GCM and uses ECDHE RSA as the key exchange mechanism.
We use the very latest programming language PHP 7.2 with its state-of-the-art speed and security features.
You do not need to download any software.
Like any website, although Practeus will still function using the obsolete Microsoft IE8 browser, we strongly recommend you use a secure, modern browser that runs on a modern operating system. Since Microsoft no longer supports IE8 on Windows XP or Windows 7, any PC that uses IE8 is vulnerable to security breaches.
The entire NASGP website is also protected by a firewall provided by Sucuri, preventing the site from malicious attacks designed to steal data or deny users access to the NASGP website.
The latest advice is to ditch using complex letter/character combinations, and use passphrases instead.
New NIST guidelines recommend using long passphrases instead of seemingly complex passwords. A passphrase is a “memorizsed secret” consisting of a sequence of words or other text used to authenticate their identity. It’s longer than a password for added security, but much easier to learn.
Create unique passphrases you can remember, using whatever characters they want. e.g
- Honeymoon beach flower ketchup
- Correct horse battery staple
The Practice is the lead role in Spip. This person will have authority from the practice to create a Spip and an NHS email address. They will usually be a practice manager or another senior member of the practice team.
The Practice is able to
- add and edit items to Spip and Cudos
- manages other users of Spip and Cudos
- Practice can invite or deactivate Clinicians
The Clinician role can view Spip.
Clinicians can be any clinician working in your practice who can benefit from access to Spip e.g. practice-based GPs, locum GPs, nurses etc.
- Practice can invite or deactivate Clinicians
- Practice can invite or deactivate Staff
- Staff can view Spip and Cudos.
- Cudos may contain items that are just for use by your practice staff e.g. building maintenance, IT system support, health and safety protocols. You would not want to display these in Spip but you can make them accessible to your practice staff by setting them up as Staff roles.
- Practice can invite Editors.
- The Editor role can view Spip and Cudos but also add or edit items in Spip or Cudos.
- Editors will usually be established members of your practice team who are entrusted to share their knowledge of practice procedures and services with Clinicians, via Spip, and with Staff via Spip and Cudos e.g. GP partners, medical secretaries, nurse practitioners etc.
- Switch roles
- Practice can switch people between different roles e.g. upgrade a Clinician to an Editor so they can crowdsource their knowledge of services
Simple, yet powerful
Spip comes with its own messaging, comments and notes system. It's a great way for all members of a practice - including visiting locum GPs - to share local information about service quality.
If you have any unread messages, we'll send you an email at 2pm to let you know, allowing you to go straight to your messaging area.
Comment on this page
All users can comment on any page within any Spip they have access too - advice to colleagues, useful tips etc.
That comment will only be visible on that particular practice's Spip. A copy is sent via the Spip's messaging system, and the Practice can edit the comment.
Leave a personal note
Useful for Clinicians to leave a personal note about that service for themselves. Only the person who made that note can see it.
Unlike 'comments', personal notes will be visible in all other Spips (on that specific page) - but again, visible only to the person who created that note.
Report service issue to Practice
Great for flagging up issues to a Practice about a service, enabling them to collect and escalate these issues further to prevent them happening again.
You must never include any patient-identifiable information in these reports.
Request page update
If you’ve looked something up in Spip but couldn’t find it, or something was out-of-date or wrong, this lets the practice know.
Send internal message
Allows the user to send an internal message to any other user of the practice that they're currently signed in to.
Great for when you don't have a colleague's email.
The owner of a Spip - 'Practice' - can upgrade a Clinician to an Editor.
In addition to everything a Clinician can do, an Editor is also able to populate and edit Spip itself, keeping it up-to-date and relevant.
A Practice can invite as many Clinicians or Staff as it likes to help it 'crowdsource' information.
It's easy to downgrade an Editor back to a Clinician.
It is being designed so that a Clinician can use Spip from a smartphone using wifi or data (3G or 4G), and planning for a full smartphone offline version in 2016.
Using Spip on a smartphone as Practice will be slightly limited to the fact that, as with many smartphones, it's not currently possible to select a document for upload, since the smartphone may not have a document storage facility.
- Never. The only other people authorised to view your practice's information are the NASGP's clinical directors, who will from time-to-time monitor how practices are using their Spips so that NASGP can continually improve Spip.
- NASGP is registered with the Data Protection Act.
All information and data added by a practice to a Spip and its corresponding Cudos belongs to that practice. See our Terms and Conditions for more information.
This all depends on what role the Practice has assigned you.
|Practice||Own & Edit||Own & Edit||View||A single authorised person within the practice who controls and manages Spip and Cudos. Can add and delete contacts in Cudos and content in Spip; can invite anyone to be a Clinician and change the status of Clinician to Editor or Staff. Can also invite and activate Group.|
|Editor||Edit||Edit||View||Same as Clinician; can also add and delete contacts in Cudos as well as in Spip.|
|Staff||View||View||View||Same as Clinician; can also view Cudos.|
|Clinician||View||Hidden||Hidden||Can view all content in Spip that has been authorised for viewing by Practice or Editor. Can not directly view Cudos.|
|network||Dummy||Hidden||Edit||Coming April 2016! Can only be invited by Practice; can add and delete contacts in a separate Network Cudos. Can not view any contents in Spip. By inviting a Network (e.g. a single contact at a CCG or a GP federation) to add and delete contacts in a separate network Cudos; Practice or Editor can choose to also use contacts that have been added by Network.|
Spip is NASGP's Standardised Practice Induction Portal. It is a secure online platform that enables a practice team to centrally store and safely display essential information to enable any clinician working in any of its premises to manage patients quickly, effectively and efficiently.
It is not linked to your clinical IT system (EMIS, SystmOne etc) and does not contain any patient-identifiable information, so can be shared with any locums visiting your practice and can be accessed from home and on home visits. Within Spip you will find a centrally updatable directory of services - Cudos.