‘We’re paratroopers, we’re supposed to be surrounded’: starting off as a GP locum

30th October 2020 by Dr Richard Fieldhouse

‘We’re paratroopers, we’re supposed to be surrounded’: starting off as a GP locum

Starting out as a locum back in 1995, I soon came across all sorts of obvious hurdles and barriers, and plenty of not-so-obvious ones as well. 

I’d not been trained for the complexities of locum work; I had no idea or experience of practices being all so inexplicably varied and complex; at that time, us locums were not entitled to access the NHS pension scheme, and I had no idea how to manage all my bookings and tax. 

I also realised how incredibly isolating it was working from practice to practice, sometimes not meeting another GP for days on end, and having absolutely no one to turn to for support, leading me to quickly set up a local support group for my locum friends. 

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