Top Tips for New Locum GPs
We want to congratulate all of the newly qualified GPs this August. After the hard work put into medical training sometimes the practicalities of branching out to start your own career can be the biggest challenge. We’ve compiled a survival guide for starting out as a locum that we hope will get you up and running.
- Finances – Make the right choices to maximise your profits.
When you become self-employed there seem to be an unlimited amount of routes to take when you first start out and tax can be daunting. You really have two options which are working as a sole trader or as a limited company. Really, a low volume of locum work lends itself well to sole traders however a frequent amount with long hours is often best suited to limited companies. If you didn’t already know we provide a free accounting service if you have any specific tax questions you’d like answered. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll get a response within 1 day. Alternatively read more on the difference between operating as a limited or sole trader here.
- Make use of social media – Start building a network with other locum doctors.
One of the few down sides to being a locum is that you are a lone wolf. You don’t often spend a huge amount of time in one place and building a network of colleagues can seem more difficult than that of the average GP. However there is far more advantage in this situation than you think. Travelling and meeting other doctors and healthcare professionals gives you the opportunity to build a large network, which, if you don’t have a permanent office, is best orchestrated through social media- Particularly Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Make sure to join ‘closed’ locum groups on facebook – It’s a secure environment to ask other locums questions and find out about the latest locum news & developments from those that know it best. Here’s some examples we’d recommend to get you started:
Follow other locums, locum communities and medical organisations on twitter. You’ll hear the latest news and will find tonnes of tips and opportunities to voice your opinions. Get started by following @networklocum and searching #tipsfornewdocs.
Finally add everyone you’ve worked with on Linkedin. Adding co-workers and business associates will snowball into a large network that will pay in dividends with only a small input.
- Be Diplomatic – Manners go a long way..
We’ve found that GPs who take the extra few moments to sign off their messages or thank a practice manager for their help are 70% more successful in obtaining more work at a practice and 79% more successful at negotiating times and rates. Locuming can be stressful and you have constant demands on your time but taking a moment to add a few ‘P’’s and ‘Q’’s can pay dividends.
- Attend educational events – especially those that offer you certificates, CPD points and additional qualifications.
There are a multitude of free events out there for GPs that will provide you not only with an educational top up but valuable CPD points and certificates. An increasing number of practices and healthcare providers are upping the requirements for locums. The more you can complete the more likely you are to be successful in your applications for work. *Tip for using Network Locum, make sure to upload any extras to your profile, it will impress practice managers and make you stand out amongst other candidates.
- Keep your details up to date – Avoid unnecessary confusion
This includes documents, personal details (address, bank details and NI Number) and availability. Keeping everything up to date means that you’ll keep everything running smoothly. Applications can be processed faster, payment can be made without delay and you will be notified about the jobs you can actually apply for.
- Maximise your opportunities – Apply for more than one job per available date
If you’re desperate to book work on a certain date, make sure you have a plan B. On Network Locum you can apply for more than one job on the same day. It’ll mean you’re more likely to be booked in. You can never double book yourself with us. If a practice manager books you any colliding applications will automatically withdraw.
- Make your own T&Cs – Keep yourself covered for all eventualities
Like any self-employed person you are slightly more vulnerable than the average PAYE employee. Write your own T&Cs and upload them to your profile. It guards you against last minute cancellations and losing out on work. There are examples in your resource centre which you can download and adapt if you don’t know where to start.
- Collect Feedback – It’s super useful for your appraisal.
This is an easy one if you book jobs through Network Locum. Any feedback from practice managers will be stored in your account so that you can download it and submit it in your appraisal. Do make a note of any extra praise or recommendations you receive though. The more the better.
The Easy Way to Keep Up To Date With CRB/DBS For Locums:
Our Head of Clinical Governance Dr Susie Brennan has been finding the best ways for docs to maintain docs!…
Applying for a new CRB is always a bit of headache. Thankfully, there is brand new service which means you can keep your CRB updated for only £13 pounds a year. The catch is that you have to apply for this within 14 days of getting a new CRB. You can join the update service when you next apply for a DBS check, and you may never need to apply for another certificate again!
You can sign up at the following:
When you have registered, this means you can
1. Take your certificate from one job to the next
2. Give employers permission to check your certificate online, and see who has checked it
3.Add or remove a certificate .
You’ll get an ID number with your registration that you need to log on to the service. Only one certificate will ever be needed.
Ask the person who next submits your next DBS/CRB application for the application form reference number so you can subscribe to the update service when you apply for your DBS check. Or you can use the certificate number on the top of your new DBS check to apply but you must apply within 14 days of your certificate issue date.
Find out more here