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