Should GP Locums Join a Chambers?
A modern-style chambers for locum GPs can offer essential support in what can often be a very isolating environment.
The idea, which has been running for several years, was born out of a series of workshops to discuss locums’ experiences and ways to help them feel less isolated. What locums miss most is a feeling of support, and this is one of the main advantages to joining a chambers. Chambers run monthly meetings for their members and social events and set up links so that members can interact.
Locums work independently and often take on placements which don’t involve any communication with other professionals. There are also huge amounts of paperwork involved with being a locum, including bookings, confirmations, advertising as well as personal administration such as pensions, bookkeeping and appraisals. This can be incredibly time-consuming and add to the stress of the workload. Chambers take care of all this and can therefore appeal particularly to any GP who appreciates a supportive and team environment and doesn’t want to get bogged down with admin.
GP practices are reacting very positively to chambers being set up. There are no additional costs to them, and as the chambers keep information on all the locums and their availability, it is much easier for the practices to arrange necessary cover.
In order to become a chambers member, GPs are interviewed to assess their suitability for GP locum jobs and references are vetted. Once accepted, members are charged a percentage of their income as a management fee and tend to commit to working a minimum number of sessions a week as well as contribute to and attend meetings.
Chambers such as http://www.thegplocumagency.co.uk/ look after their member GPs, as members only work for their own chambers. As the chambers are funded by their members, the locums also have a say in how the chambers are run and are involved in any decision-making.
Chambers can also help GPs with revalidation. They can collate feedback, advise them when their annual appraisals are due and assist them by ensuring they have the correct documents.
GPs are trained to primarily care for their patients, and too much time is spent on other areas such as IT, financial planning and human resources. Chambers can take care of all this, leaving GPs to concentrate on what they do best.