NASGP survey 2023: flexibility, insecurity, community

20th November 2023 by NASGP

NASGP survey 2023: flexibility, insecurity, community

In October 2023 NASGP launched our 2023 survey of UK sessional GPs.

We surveyed 8,986 GPs and received 799 responses between Monday 30 October and Monday 13 November.

We asked GPs about their experience of locum work:

  • What is the best thing about being a GP locum?
  • What is the most challenging thing about being a GP locum?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing GP locums today?
  • What is the main thing you need support with on a day-to-day basis as a GP locum?
  • What is the most important thing for you as a GP locum?

We also asked questions about their practice:

  • What is important to you when deciding where to work as a GP locum?
  • How do you usually find GP locum work?
  • Which websites do you normally use to find work?

We also offered members a free text box at the end to submit their own remarks

Main findings

Flexibility – not money – is the most common motivator

Flexibility is the best thing about being a GP locum, according to the majority of GPs locums. Some 53% of respondents said the best thing about being a GP locum was ‘more flexibility’.

By contrast, just 7% said that ‘better money’ was the best thing about locuming.

Some GPs pointed to other factors. One in five (19%) said that the best thing was that locuming puts them in control, and 12% said it was less stressful compared with other sectors.

Fair terms and safe workload are four times more important than pay

Some 37% of respondents told us that ‘Fair terms and safe workload’ were the most important thing when deciding where to work as a GP locum. Just 8% of respondents – barely a quarter – prioritised ‘Good rates’.

And when asked about the most important thing for them as a GP locum, 41% told us it was the ability to set their own terms. By contrast, just 11% said it was the ability to set their own rates.

GPs want to work more closely with practices, and other GPs

‘Not knowing the practice’ and ‘professional isolation’ were equally considered the main challenges of locuming (30% each).

And 14% of GPs told us the most important thing when deciding where to work as a GP locum was ‘Existing relationship with the practice’.

GPs are concerned about Advanced Practitioners

Closely following the two leading challenges of locuming, ‘Increasing number of Advanced Practitioners’ (29%) was cited as the third main challenge facing GPs locums today. (At the time of the survey, regulation of physician associates was a common topic for NASGP news stories).

The majority of GPs need support to find work

Some 42% of respondents told us that ‘Finding work’ was the main thing they need support with on a day to day basis.

Summary

These findings support and direct our work in NASGP and LocumDeck.

Our platform, LocumDeck, offers GPs the chance to find flexible work on their own terms and rates. We help GPs work on fair terms, with a safe workload.

NASGP also helps sessional GPs experience a sense of community through our forums, newsletter and NASGP Locum Chambers, tackling professional isolation.

We also keep members abreast of new risks and challenges, such as increasing investment in advanced practitioner roles in primary care.

We plan to use the results of this survey to inform and direct our organisation in 2024.

Want to feedback on our work or get more detail? Please email info@nasgp.org.uk.

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"I have always valued real-person interactive support which the National Association of Sessional GPs has given in spades. It is particularly helpful for the older GP locums who may not be technologically savvy and may feel 'forced into' locum work at the end of their professional career when it wasn't necessarily a planned choice. "

Dr David Grant, GP, Lincolnshire

See the full list of features within our NASGP membership plans

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"Thank you for all your help. I put my sessions on in Mid-Nov and within a day, I was already booked up for the next six weeks until the Christmas holidays. It's a huge weight off my mind."

Dr Francesca Cappelluto, GP, London

See the full list of features within our NASGP membership plans

Membership