Most qualified GPs will have spent time in various medical practice’s as a GP locum. These practices will have adhered to Royal College of General Practitioners standards for training. These standards provide people with the opportunity to launch their career as a GP. Also, there are number of core skills needed to work as a GP locum, as outlined in a joint document between the RCGP and NASGP.
With estimates putting the number of locum GPs at around 17,000 in the UK, around 60 million NHS consultations a year are being performed by locum GPs who have had absolutely no, or extremely little, training induction into the complex and complicated ways of working as a locum GP.
The first few months of being a locum GP will be tougher than you would expect, it’s because with on the job training there is a steep learning curve. GP locums will have to build working relationships with reception staff, management of legacy IT systems and frustrated patients who have been told that you are “not a GP, just a locum”.
You need to be mindful that starting work is a minefield, and is not easy to navigate as an isolated locum GP. The path through to safety involves improved collaboration with practices and wider support through professional bodies.
How to be a locum GP?
Locums need training support beyond working in practices and if it’s not given, they need to take control and go and get it.
- CPD – GPs need to show continuous professional development (CPD). As a GP, keeping your knowledge and skills up to date through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a professional responsibility. RCGP run a CPD credits scheme.
- Peer support – Getting peer support from practice-based colleagues also helps locum GPs improve their ability to care for patients and support general practice.
- Medical practice support – When working with any new practice you should ask for an induction, access to medical practice methods and code of practice, computer logins and how to work them. Also, if there’s feedback mechanisms they need to be in place for locums to receive it.
- Locum GP support groups – It can be difficult to work in isolation, new locums should also try and connect with experienced GP locums to get help and support. They will have first-hand knowledge and experience of the core skills needed to be a locum GP.
As well as locums taking control of their CPD, practices and professional bodies need to recognise and respond to the role of locums as an important and integral part of the workforce and provide them will all support required.
The NHS has got to start recognising that locum GPs are not just a convenient stop-gap or a pool of lost, uncounted GPs, but as an engaged, supported, well-equipped group of flexible GPs that is an integral part of the solution to support patient care and minimise waiting times.
At BeeFound we have a number of GP locums with something in common – trying to get locum work. Now you can take your mind of getting work and focus on training as there a new, easier and FREE way of getting locum GP work.