Locum GPs

As well as in-depth information for Locum GPs, scroll down for information on the Buddy System.

Sessional GP Newsletter

The summer edition of the Sessional GP Newsletter has now been published on the BMA website (Please note that a link to the newsletter is at the bottom of the webpage).  In addition to updates on work the BMA is undertaking on behalf of sessional GPs, this newsletter also highlights key issues relating to pensions, tax and expenses which all salaried and locum GPs should be aware of.  This newsletter also promotes specialist BMA guidance for sessional GPs, such as the recently launched Locum Handbook which will be officially launched at the Sessional GP Conference in October 2012.

Locum GP Information

It is well known that many doctors choose Dorset as a place to settle because of the great work/life balance on offer here.  As a result, a sizeable minority of the Dorset GP community work as locums, some part time, some full time and some as part of a ‘portfolio’ career.

This page provides links to local and national resources for the locum doctor, and gives advice on fulfilling the requirements required to be a locum GP in Dorset (correct as of December 2010).  It is not an exhaustive resource but should point you in the right direction!

Have I got my CCT?

A formality for most; you should receive your CCT very shortly after completing GP training. See www.rcgp.org.uk/gp_training/certification/cct.aspx for more information.

Am I on the National Performers List?

All GP trainees in Dorset will be on the National Performers List in order to complete their GP training. ST3 trainees who are qualifying and receiving their CCT will need to update their status on the Performers List to reflect their new role (e.g. locum GP, salaried GP, GP partner)

The contact for GPs working in Dorset is:

Lesley Phillips
lesley.phillips1@nhs.net
0300 421 1215

Do I have the appropriate medical indemnity cover?

Arrange this through your indemnity provider; for most the MDU or the MPS. Rates are calculated on an average number of session worked per week on an annual basis.

Have I registered as self-employed and have I thought about tax?

As a locum doctor, whether exclusively or as part of a portfolio of jobs, you will need to declare yourself as self-employed and make arrangements for paying your own tax.  Taxation for the self-employed is complex, and beyond the scope of this document but there are broadly two approaches (see below).  Suffice to say, whichever approach you decide on, keeping an accurate record of hours worked, invoices issued and paid, receipts and a mileage log is essential for any self-employed doctor.

Self assessment

For information about registering as self-employed and self-assessment tax returns see http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/

Robbie Coull’s book (details below) gives advice about managing your own taxation

Get an accountant

If you are less money savvy, it might be better to pay an accountant to do your taxes for you.  Medical specialist accountants locally include:

However, many doctors use the services of non-specialist accountants instead.

Do I want to do any Out of Hours work?

This is organised centrally through the Dorset Emergency Care Service (DECS).  Ellenor Peaty or her team, on 01202 851332 or ellenor.peaty@swast.nhs.uk should be your first point of contact.

Do I know which pension forms I need to complete?

In order to take advantage of the NHS pension scheme, considered by most to represent better value than most private pension schemes, locum forms A and B need to be completed and sent off to the pensions officer (details below).  Completion of the forms is not that onerous, particularly if you use the Locum Organiser website (see link below) which fills them in automatically once you’re registered on the site.

One Locum form ‘A’ needs to be completed for each practice worked for in a given month.

One Locum form ‘B’ is completed each month, relating to all payments received in one calendar month (regardless of when the work was actually done). Pension contributions should be made within 10 weeks of the work being done.

Pension forms – and more information – are available through http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/4092.aspx – scroll down to ‘GP forms’ for forms A & B.

Pension contribution cheques are made payable to The NHS Commissioning Board and sent to:

GP Pensions, Floor 3, East Wing, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

For Pension queries contact:

GP Pensions:  SBS-I.SWPensions@nhs.net
Tel: 01332 868777 (option 5, then option 2)

Getting work

  • Locum organiser – https://www.locumorganiser.com – A site that allows locums to organise their diary and practice database. The site can also easily automate invoicing and pension contributions paperwork. This is a subscription based service offering a 3 month free trial period. Locums can also set up a public webpage to allow practices to see their availability. A tool with great time-saving potential!
  • Wessex doc – http://www.wessexdoc.co.uk/index.html – A local locum agency, covering the Poole/Bournemouth area, with an innovative, personal service. Charges commission on a percentage basis.
  • Word of mouth counts for a lot too; many of the practice managers and GP principles will ask for informal feedback when looking for locums, so be nice to everyone!

Staying up-to-date

  • For a very reasonable subscription fee, Wessex GPs can sign up to WGPET which coordinates and funds local educational events, organised by GP tutors – http://www.wgpet.co.uk/
  • Contact your local hospital’s postgraduate centre for information of other events locally.
  • There are a number of active sessional GP groups, but only some are open to new members. See www.nasgp.org.uk for contact details of some local groups.

Appraisal/Revalidation

This is very much a requirement of locum doctors.  Visit the RCGP or the Wessex LMCS for the latest guidance.

Miscellaneous Resources

  • Wessex deanery has an enthusiastic and dynamic LMC which has lots of clinical and administrative guidance documents. See www.wessexlmcs.com.
  • A good general guide to locum work, and a text-based locum contact service. Robbie Coull’s book, ‘The Locum Doctor Survival Guide’ is also available through the site – www.locum123.com.

Relevant BMJ Careers Publications

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Buddy System for Practice Based Education

Many practices in Dorset hold regular in house education and some are registered as PEAS practices [practice education accreditation scheme]  We are encouraging practices to invite local sessional doctors or neighbouring doctors to these events, particularly if an outside speaker has been invited.

We have piloted this in Bournemouth in 4 practices and are keen to extend the scheme to other parts of Dorset. Please contact you local Post Graduate Centre for further information on this.

The Dorset Tutors

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