Day in the life of a Locum Chambers manager

21st September 2020 by Ali Lewis, NASGP Membership Support Manager

Day in the life of a Locum Chambers manager

Every day at NASGP is different, and the variety is one of the things I love about this job. The one thing that never changes, though, is that I like to start every day with a clean to-do list. I prefer not to have to worry about anything left undone the day before.

At the moment I’m working from home, so after I make the first of many cups of tea (don’t worry, it’s decaf) I sit down at my desk. 

First thing this morning, I start by calling a PCN workforce lead. A local GP partner has been in touch with her to say they’re struggling to find a long-term locum for the autumn and winter. I ring the manager at the practice in question – she’s got five minutes spare to talk. She says she’s used LocumDeck in the past but didn’t stick with it. 

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Related FAQs

Why should an established GP pay a chambers fee for work at a practice?

In spite of the chamber fee, many locums in chamber report that they earn more working via chambers compared to being a freelance locum, because the wraparound professional and administrative services of the chambers frees up time and expands your opportunities to earn. Being in a chamber means that most of the day-to-day hassles of finding work, making bookings, managing your admin and setting up CPD and appraisal opportunities are removed. You can choose how to use the extra time and energy available to you. Some chambers locums, reassured by the support of chambers, feel able to work more sessions in a wider range of practices. Others focus on developing special clinical interests (all very welcome in chambers) or take on non-clinical roles as part of a portfolio career.

In NASGP Locum Chambers, your pay rates for locum work are your business, set entirely by you to reflect what you see as your value to practices and to cover your needs.

I’m an established GP locum and I already have work in my regular practices which I don’t want to risk losing to other locums

If you have an established relationship with a practice, your chambers will help you maintain that relationship. Practices can ‘Favourite’ you and specifically book you.

A new benefit to your regular practice of working with you is that you now have chambers colleagues to cover you in the event of any last minute absences. And likewise, you can cross-cover your locum colleagues’ practices when they’re absent. It’s a collaboration rather than a competition.

How can I claim my locum chambers fee for tax purposes?

Fees paid to your chamber are tax deductible. Your accountant will be able to give you personalised advice. Generally, the suggestion would be to show the fee on your tax return as either ‘other office costs’ or ‘admin support’ rather than ‘professional subs’ (which normally relates to membership of a professional body, rather than buying a specific service). So long as it is analysed consistently, it doesn’t really matter how it’s classified on your tax return.

Are locums in Chambers self-employed or employed?

GP locums can work either as a self-employed individual or through their own limited company.

How do chambers organise continuing professional development (CPD)?

Chambers have a budget to employ dedicated staff to organise in-house training – such as BLS or safeguarding – or regular programmes of evening education, open to all local GPs.

As chambers locums perform all their locum work through the chambers, their management team act as a feedback conduit from employing practices, including the dreaded “We no longer want to book Dr X again” – as an independent locum, Dr X would be none the wiser, but in chambers they have the benefit of learning from this sort of event. Often the practice that initiates this type of feedback learns something constructive about how to improve their practice systems too.

Many chambers have monthly or bi-monthly internal clinical governance meetings as part of their conditions of membership, where all members meet up to discuss significant events and spread best practice.

Does all my GP work have to be through my Chambers?

A GP locum chambers is a partnership of GP locums, all working together to pool their professional resources to provide support and a clinical governance framework for their GP locum work.

Once a chambers is properly up and running, working as a GP locum outside the chambers partnership therefore undermines your chambers quite significantly. But whilst the chambers is getting up and going – and especially during Covid – members could get GP locum work outside the chambers if really necessary. Wherever possible, the locum should ask their Chambers Manager to liaise with the practice to get any work put through the chambers.

Of course, out-of-hours, appraisals, salaried work etc all have their own clinical governance and support networks, so that won’t present an issue with your chamber colleagues – that can all be performed outside the chambers.

How quickly can I join an NASGP Locum Chambers?

Very quickly! Once an NASGP member applies to join a locum chambers, it can be a matter of days until their application is approved. 

For example one NASGP member went from application to membership in just 11 days in 2020. Two weeks later he was booked for seven all-day sessions through the same chambers. 

We recommend that GP locums who are keen to fast-track their application get their references ready to speed up the process. 

NASGP Chambers manager Ali Lewis says she managed to add a new locum chambers member in just 10 days. 

Ali says: “The GP is early on in his career, and very focused – it has only taken 10 days to get him from his application to chambers to chambers membership. 

“He’d filled in as much information as he could in his application, and got his references ready.”

But Ali adds, some GP locums prefer to take it slow – and that’s fine too. 

She says: “Not every GP can join as quickly as he could. 

“For example, another GP locum got in touch with us last May. She is moving across the country with her family, and looking for a new home at the same time, so her application took a few months. 

“Everyone’s circumstances are different and the important thing for us is to go at the GP’s pace.”

Join an NASGP locum chambers near you today.

How do I join an NASGP locum chambers?

To join an existing NASGP locum chambers, log into the LocumDeck dashboard (members.nasgp.org.uk/espip/my_account.php).

In the list of NASGP locum chambers, click the one you want to apply to and click ‘apply’. A chambers manager will get in touch.

It’s that easy to join a GP locum chambers.

Do you have any testimonials from GPs in NASGP Locum Chambers?

Yes, we do.  Members say:

–”I know how isolating it can be to be a locum, and I wanted to fight a way to tackle that. So when I read about NASGP Locum Chambers, I thought: this is an ideal thing. In a chambers we know that we are part of a group. It will feel like a virtual surgery.” Dr Vin Ohja, Stoke Chambers.

–“I was delighted to have been invited to join GP locum chambers. I enjoy great peer support from my colleagues via our monthly meetings.” Dr Chloe Evans, Oxford Chambers.

–“The NASGP locum chambers that I’m in has provided invaluable assistance to me before and throughout Covid-19. All aspects of locum work have been made easier – from accessing work to ensuring invoicing and documentation is all sorted. I feel more secure and can devote more of my energy on my clinical work.” Dr Richard Smith, West Suffolk Chambers.

Chambers membership gives GPs a chance to work in a local group of locums – sharing advice, covering one another’s shifts in emergencies and getting the support GP locums need to make the most of their careers. Our chambers support manager handles admin chores like invoice-chasing and complaints management. Members also get extra benefits, like 10% off indemnity costs with Medical Protection membership. 

Download survey results

To join, login to LocumDeck and find your local chambers on the homepage, or sign up to NASGP’s Chambers plan today.

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