A large number of GPs are choosing to work as locums, accepting the uncertainty in terms of income for a better work life balance and flexibility in their working week. If you would like to join them here is some advice.
This is part one of Dr Farah Jameel’s advice on being a locum GP.
First consider how you’d like to work (independently, through an agency or through a chambers) and also where (rural or urban, larger or smaller practices). Then sort out the admin:
1. Employment Status
Register as self-employed with HMRC and arrange to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions. You can do this online by going to HMRC’s website or your accountant can do it for you. You may prefer to register as a limited company; this is a discussion to have with your accountant (remember you can’t claim pension contributions this way). If you work through an agency, you will be paid as PAYE and will not be able to pension these payments.
When booking work, you will be commonly asked for the following paperwork. Be organised and have electronic copies that you can forward easily: CV, indemnity, GMC, CCT certificate, performers list confirmation, identity document, child and adult safeguarding, BLS, hep B status and CRB/DBS check.
3. Terms of business
Ensure you have a comprehensive set of terms. Agreeing a job plan, setting out the type and timing of activity can help to avoid misunderstandings. Your terms can be as basic or as comprehensive as you like.
4. Set your rate
Locum pay does not include holiday, sick or maternity pay, nor funding for CPD. Take into consideration your tax, national insurance, pension, medical defence cover, GMC subscription, course fees and other costs when setting your rate. There is a helpful calculator in the BMA locum handbook which helps you work out a sessional rate taking into account all your expenses.
5. Finding work
There are several ways to get work as a locum:
- Contact local VTS schemes who will usually be able to send an email to all the training practices in the area.
- Contact practices directly, either via email or telephone - practice managers tend to communicate with each other and are usually aware of practices that use locums. They will pass your details around.
- Local sessional groups will usually have a local practice mailing list and email locums on a regular basis with any practice requirements.
- Advertise on your local LMC website.
- There are a growing number of websites like rLocums, network locum, GP networks, locumorganiser that connect practices directly with locums.
- Educational meetings can be a useful networking opportunity, print business cards and have them to hand when attending such events.
- Contact practices who have advertised vacancies on job websites, with an offer of interim locum services.
- Work directly with Agencies and Chambers who will find work for you.
For more tips, read the full article here.