Finding a locum GP

Every practice has its favourite locums - ex-partners, previous trainees, or someone who's been working with you for so long they're simply part of the team. But if for some reason they're not available, you'll need to cast your net wider.

Where to look

  • LocumDeck
    • NASGP's LocumDeck is a new platform that enables GP locums to define every single parameter of the way they prefer to work, allowing them to then commit to being available for a booking at a certain time and date. This then allows practice managers to book and confirm bookings, instantly, and at the same time giving you access to all their necessary paperwork.
  • Independent locums
    • Book and negotiate fee direct with the locum.
    • It can be great to have access to known, trusted locums who may rely on local reputation and word of mouth recommendations.
    • You have to work at maintaining an up to date list of contacts and be prepared to make lots of phone calls and emails to make a booking. If the locum is managing their own bookings they will be juggling this with their clinical work, which can mean that booking can take a while and booking errors may be more frequent.
    • You'll have to do your own employment checks.
  • Locum chambers
    • Book via chambers managers; often a clear fee structure, pay locum direct, locum pays management fee to chambers.
    • These function as ‘virtual practices’, where all the locum GPs perform all their work through the chambers, employ full time staff to manage bookings and have formal clinical governance mechanisms.
    • The chamber will usually carry out the necessary pre-employment checks and keep this information filed for practices to view.
    • Read more on Locum chambers
  • Agencies
    • Book via agency; locums employed by one or many agencies, practice pays agency and agency pays proportion to the locum.
    • The agency will usually carry out the necessary pre-employment checks and keep this information filed for practices to view.
    • Although agencies tend to be more expensive, they often have a large number of GPs on their books and can call upon significant resources to get cover at short notice.
  • Locum groups
    • In some areas, local locum GPs have grouped together as informal voluntary groups. Although they tend to focus more on providing an opportunity for locums to meet up once a month or so to share in group learning and development, they also sometimes distribute lists of their members to practices or even arrange regular emails of work to be emailed to their members.
  • Online services
    • Book locums through a website on a pay-as-you go basis - like LocumDeck!
  • LMC or postgraduate education centre
    • These sometime have a distribution list of local locum GPs.

Recruiting and retaining locum GPs

  • Whatever level of locum cover your practice has historically used, you never know what’s around the corner and it will be to your benefit to be on good terms with trusted locums.
  • Top Tips
    • Some practices are a joy to work in. They may have the tough patients but GPs can cope with anything if they feel well-supported and enabled to work to their full capacity by having access to necessary equipment and essential practice-based information.
    • Treat locums as fellow professionals who will have the responsibility of looking after your patients.
    • Respect that they have clinical knowledge but not practice-specific knowledge so
      • Prepare for their session so they can start smoothly in a suitably equipped room
      • Enable them to consult safely and effectively by equipping them with easy access essential information
  • If you follow the steps below on agreeing Terms & Conditions and Making the most of locum GPs , you will have a happy locum who will be pleased to help you out in future.