NASGP’s Locum Chambers model connects GP locums so that having a flexible career no longer means working in isolation. Dr Richard Fieldhouse explains how it works.
Q: What is a locum chambers?
NASGP’s GP locum Chambers model brings together all the benefits of NASGP membership with being part of a local community of highly engaged GP locums, pooling all their locum resources to create a holistic support package for their work, supporting each other and the practices where they all work.
Rather than working in competition with each other, up to 15 locums collaborate in each separate Chambers – sometimes also called ‘virtual practices’ – and should the popularity of the chambers mean that the number of locums is any more than this, we split the Chambers in two to keep each team an effective size.
Q: What’s the importance of chambers for GP locums?
We tend to think of five levels of support and benefits provided by the GP Locum Chambers.
The first of these levels is education and information, where the chambers support team either signposts existing educational and information, or provides it based on the needs of its members. LocumDeck also has an inbuilt ‘induction pack’ function, which allows the support team to add important local clinical information such as guidelines, policies and procedures that are easily accessible by all locums across the different local chambers.
The second support level is about management support. Whilst the locums themselves remain self-employed, continuing to set their own rates, the chambers support team, backed up by LocumDeck, takes on all the tasks the locums would normally do, from nurturing those hugely important relationships with the practices, managing all bookings – both simple and more complex ones – using a centralised system for invoicing and pension forms, all with a shared set of terms and conditions.
The third support level is about networking with the other locums in your chambers, and other chambers near you, both socially and professionally. With support increasing in complexity, another hugely popular aspect of being a chambers member are the regular meetups with other locums in your chambers – something that’s hard to do as an independent locum. Locums have even been known to move to an area to join chambers precisely for this. Meeting up regularly for social events engenders a strong sense of belonging and identity, all of which helps embed a strong positive affect and psychological safety, increasing enjoyment but also trust, which is particularly important for the regular monthly clinical governance meetings where are all the members meet up to discuss clinical cases and support each other through significant events and complaints that have been facilitated by the chambers support team.
The fourth level of support is all about clinical governance and assurance, bringing together the dissemination of information regarding local clinical systems and education, opportunities for audits and clinical surveys – all with support from the chambers support team – to collect information about significant events and complaints so that these can be approached as a team and, by having a Chambers Clinical Director, these outcomes can be handed back to practices to help reduce complaints, significant events and errors in the future. All of this activity produces a significant sense of empowerment amongst locums that helps motivate them, and makes them feel an integral part of the local Health Care Community, further boosting resilience and retention.
The fifth support level is reputational. Finally, the hive of activity generated by the chambers support team and all their Chambers members exposes this previously isolated and often hidden group of GPs to the much wider healthcare system, creating a hugely positive reputation, giving the Chambers locums the opportunity to help spread best practice and help influence healthcare locally. It also provides unique opportunities for leadership roles and career opportunities and helps instill a real sense of belonging to the local Healthcare economy.
Q: How much does it cost to join an NASGP Locum Chambers?
One locum per Chambers is nominated as the Chambers Lead, and the NASGP employs the Chamber Managers and a clinical director to form the chambers support team.
Unless the membership is covered by a local healthcare organisation, the cost to members is £31 per month, plus £11 for each session booked, up to a maximum 20 sessions a month, after which there is no further fee.
If you think being part of an NASGP Locum Chambers is something for you, just sign in to the NASGP website in. If you’re not already a member, sign up for a free trial and click on the “chambers” button.
If there isn’t already an NASGP Locum Chambers in your area, get in touch and we can get one off the ground for you in no time at all.