Just because GPs receive little or no specific training on how to work as a locum, doesn't mean it wouldn't have come in very useful.
From managing your locum practise, avoiding risk, working in dozens of different surgeries from the uber-organised to the downright chaotic, handing over care and creating an excellent rapport with patients requires a lot of skill. And every craftsman requires tools. So NASGP have produced a huge range of practical, adaptable forms to help you in your day-to-day work.
Funding for locum appraisal was withdrawn by the NHS in 2013, but that doesn't mean you can't try claiming it from a CCG or other local PCO.
Here's a spreadsheet for you to use and customise to work out what sort of rates you should be charging.
If you're doing any sort of locum work, you'll definitely need your own personalised Terms and Conditions that will protect both you and the practice you're working for. NASGP's model T&Cs has been specifically developed for us by a specialist employme law firm, and allows you to not only fully adopt all its recommendations, but also to add any necessary clauses, and tailor it to suit your personal needs.
- cancellation policy
- employer's pension contributions
- legal employment status
- tax status
- payment terms
As an NASGP member, go to your T&Cs generator, choose your settings and then save. You'll then be given a unique link "View my TCs" which will automatically be added to your automated invoices and session request emails, or you can paste the link into your own website.
As an added bonus, you can update your T&Cs as often as you like, with each change being saved in an archive accessible by your practices for extra confidence.
Working in different practices, do you ever get that 4am brain worm about a patient you saw the day before? At NASGP, we're used to this experience, so have developed a tool that may not only keep those brain worms away but also help you improve patient care and help generate evidence for appraisal.
It's imperative that all GP locums receive a flu vaccine at the earliest opportunity to prevent us acting as an unsuspecting viral vectors as we move from practice to practice, typically working in 30 different practices a year.
As GP locums, we are arguably at our most needed during flu season, so it's in everyone's interest that we all get vaccinated.
Since 2016, it's also in a practices interest, since NHS England are incentivising practices to vaccinate 75% of all their front line staff.
Fortunately, employing surgeries are often fairly obliging when it comes to vaccinating ocus, and it really doesn't cost that much to get a shot from local chemist. But if you're minded to get it for, this download, even if it doesn't get you the money, will at least raise this as an issue.
Do you get your own username and password when signing into practice computers? Sick of always being signed in under various combinations of ‘LOCUM1/DRL/LARRYLOCUM’? Perplexed as to how it’s your first time at the practice but looks like you (DRLOCUM) have seen this patient twice already this month? Irritated because you can’t work out who all the other freelance GPs are who’ve already seen this patient? Demoralised for not having the fundamental means for recording auditable medical notes? Struck off for never having officially been enabled to record a consultati…OK, you get the idea.
Secret passwords and usernames are essential to working as a GP – recording contemporaneous medical information in the patient’s notes is a vital part of clinical management; and a medico-legal requirement. And if your password isn’t secret, and call me paranoid, someone else could falsify records in your name. So how come freelance GPs are so rarely given their own? Come on chaps, stand your ground and insist on one! Some of the clinical systems are pretty easy to set up, whereas others aren’t. For example, the procedure for setting up passwords on Microtest can be quite tricky. So we’ve been working with them (and what nice people they are) to make the procedure easier.
@NASGP Huge risk area. I had my name signed to referral letter for a pt I'd never seen. V diff to ensure audit trail in such a setting...
— Dr Catherine Harkin (@buletproofcardi) March 13, 2015
Meanwhile, here is advice provided by Pallant Medical Chambers to shove under the noses of any defaulting practices.
...make it a condition that each practice gives any member working for them a confidential username and password as advised by the General Medical Council, Medical Protection Society2, Department of Health and Good Practice Guidelines for General Practice Electronic Patient Records...
With over a thousand downloads, we've now automated our manual invoice and is now all part of LocumDeck.
There's an awful lot of confusion and inconsistency about what training is statutory, what is 'required', what is needed and what a practice wants or expects.
But what we do know is that NHS appraisal is a statutory requirement, so we have provided a template for you to adjust to your own needs, sign, and give to any practice who asks for it to reassure them that your NHS appraiser is satisfied that you are fulfilling any necessary requirements to practise as a GP.
With pressure for appointments increasing, it can be difficult to ensure that a patient of concern has access to the follow-up you had intended. Try using this form to flag up to reception when a patient really needs review.
We used to provide a very popular (over 1,700 downloads!) comprehensive pre-formatted NHS superannuation spreadsheet, complete with invoicing capabilities and expenses. Trouble is, it needed updating every year, and being a spreadsheet, was clunky to say the least.
Home visits are some of the most complicated activities that GPs do. Away from electronic records, usually after a busy surgery, through traffic, to sick or frail patients, often with multiple problems and anxious carers.
Our template helps you make the whole process go much more smoothly.
And don't forget, your Spip practice pack can be accessed via smartphone too.
These allow clinicians to make a physical record of every consultation that needs referral, reducing the likelihood of a referral going missing.
Locums work in anything up to 40 different practices a year, from the dysfunctional to the inspiring. Make sure you get their feedback about your practice.
To get the most out of your freelance GPs and minimise stress to your practice staff and disruption for patients, it is helpful to have the following in place in time for your GPs to smoothly start their session.
The best person to let you know when a room needs reequipping is the last person that used it. Print some of these out and pin to each room's notice board.
Patients usually prefer to see their usual GP, but that's not always possible. So it can be really handy to give them a good explaination of what a locum GP is, and how actually seeing a locum could be advantageous too.
Want to get to grips with the basics of Vision? Sign up for five free Vision training modules, covering navigation, recording data, prescribing, results, referring and DocMan attachments.
Don't see what you're looking for in the NASGP locum toolkit, or have a request? Leave a comment below and we'll get back to you.