GP federations – how might they affect you?

18th March 2014 by Liz Densley

GP federations – how might they affect you?

There is plenty of debate about GP practices forming GP federations in order to create efficiencies, save costs and bid for extra services. Is this a threat or an opportunity to freelance GPs?

Taking the threats first:

  • Will GP federations lead to more ‘internal locums’ and less reliance on freelancers?
  • Will they encourage ‘floating’ salaried staff to cover needs of the whole federation?
  • Will they push costs down as they band together and decide what they are prepared to pay?

But the opportunities:

  • Will practices seek locums to cover the GPs who have found more lucrative services?
  • Will the provider role create GP vacancies that will not be filled by salaried staff or new partners because of the potential short term nature of contracts for new services?
  • Will a shortage of locums, if GPs are offering other services, push the price up for hiring locums?
  • Could locums band together to provide a federation wide service – perhaps trading some fee level for a minimum number of hours? (Would need to be at entity rather than individual level to avoid risk of deemed employment)
  • So does this mean that working formally as a GP locum chambers – or at least with some co-operation between locums – will be the way of the future?

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"I was introduced to the local locum chambers several months ago when I made a career move from partnership. I now combine salaried and locum roles. The chambers provides helpful support, leadership, advice and governance and reduces professional isolation. This combination of support reassures me and helps me provide safe and consistent care to patients within the community . There is a useful, innovative online portal - LocumDeck - which helps me access local work and which has efficient systems for reconciliation of finance including pensions. I would highly recommend joining a locum chambers for any GPs starting out in the locum world ."

Dr Adrian Richardson

Dr Adrian Richardson

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