For years, we’ve been calling for recognition that locuming involves performing in a specialised environment requiring at least a mention in formal GP training. We brought that together in a one-day GP locum masterclass with the BMJ in October 2015.
Ask any locum GP who’s worked in a few different surgeries over a period of a few weeks, and they’ll all have a similar story to tell. On top of the clinical complexity and the vast casemix that is the staple of general practice, they will also have had to negotiate finding out the ways things work in each practice, the local services that are available (and which ones aren’t), getting to know the personalities, strengths and weaknesses of staff and colleagues, and developing trust and rapport with all the new patients they’ve been caring for.
Some practices could have booked a locum because they’re off on a shared learning day to really get to grips with some great quality improvement, whereas other struggling practices may have made a booking in desperation after one of their colleagues has gone off with stress, or simply resigned, or even been suspended with a cloud over their head. Whatever the reason, how do we as locum GPs make sense of all this “soft information” to make sure we’re practising safely and effectively?