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Gold, incentives and meh

Locum GPs 'guaranteed to be paid for extra work' under new BMA agreement

Locum GPs will be guaranteed payment for any extra work they carry out under a new agreement, the BMA has claimed as it released the document.

The BMA has published model terms and conditions, alongside a work schedule, for locum GPs in a bid to reduce common disputes between locums and practices.

This comes after the BMA found almost 40% of locums work in practices without any agreed terms and conditions, putting them at risk of disputes about what is expected of them and the salary they should receive, including for overtime.

The agreement outlines the type of work locums may undertake while making it clear to practices that the GP is self-employed.

In the past there has been confusion about whether locums should be deemed as being employed for the purposes of paying tax - and whether practices are liable for deducting those payments.

The BMA is recommending locums complete a work schedule to ensure they are paid for the exact number of sessions agreed, and for any overtime worked.

The BMA said: 'The model terms are intended to avoid disputes and protect against locums being categorised as employees or workers by HMRC for tax purposes or an employment tribunal, for the purposes of statutory employment protection, as well as ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).'

It added: 'The document is a general template that will need to be adapted for specific circumstances. The law relating to employment status and data protection will always be applied on a case-by-case basis. It is therefore recommended that members seek legal advice on their individual situation before using it. It is also important that practices and locums adhere to the terms in practice.'

BMA GP sessional subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Norris said the model agreement will protect both locums and practices and benchmarks 'high quality, professional practice'.

She said: 'Every day, locum GPs are working hard to support a thinly-stretched NHS and general practice workforce, with practices relying on these talented doctors to provide high quality care to patients within their communities.

'Locums are likely to choose to work this way because it gives doctors a greater control over workload and offers greater flexibility to suit individual working patterns.'

She added: 'Yet a recent BMA survey found that, shockingly, almost 40% of locum GPs working without any terms and conditions, putting them at risk of disputes around what is expected of them and pay.'

'These model terms and conditions therefore aim to avoid disputes, or where they do occur, make them easier to resolve – protecting both the individual doctor and the practice

'We would urge all locum GPs to use this important agreement as the basis for a contract between themselves and the practice in which they are working.'

The National Association of Sessional GPs (NASGP) said it welcomed the agreement but pointed out it omits 'important' elements such as the provision for late payment of locum fees or details on late cancellations by practices.

NASGP chair Richard Fieldhouse said: 'This long overdue document from BMA is a very welcome addition to available terms and conditions for locums, especially as this will bring this important issue to the attention of a wider audience. There’s some good grounding in defining self-employment and making sure those markers are in place.

'But there are some important omissions and missed opportunities to resolve common problems that practices and locums encounter.'

Pulse revealed last year that nearly half of locums are expected to work longer than their contracted hours, while more than 50% said they do not receive enough support at work

Meanwhile, almost 60% of locums reported to have been paid late for their work every month.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Needs some commitment the other way too. I locum some sessions and was amazed at the demand for me to keep coming to a perfectly nice well run practice. Apparently they had locums who would leave earlier than arranged because they had a last minute better paying job come through!

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  • Vinci Ho

    Yes , the terms and conditions have to work on both directions. A about respecting each other, ultimately.

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  • Vinci Ho

    All about ...

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  • It would be nice if the BMA devoted some time and effort to pressing for “pay for extra work” for GP partners....

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  • My view is this makes it more likely you will regarded as an employee

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  • EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE A GP LOCUM...SO WHAT ARE THE BMA DOING....MAKING BEING A LOCUM EVEN MORE ATTRACTIVE....

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  • 'She said: 'Every day, locum GPs are working hard to support a thinly-stretched NHS and general practice workforce, with practices relying on these talented doctors to provide high quality care to patients within their communities.'

    Any thoughts as to why 'thinly stretched'??

    Maybe an example of the solution contributing to the problem. Agree a locum workforce is vital but the balance is wrong and is creating an unsustainable situation in practices.

    Our local 'hub' for extended hours is staffed by locums and frequently have to cancel 'routine' sessions due to late cancellation by locums who don't seem to understand that they have a responsibility. I was told that we have no come back other than not employing those GPs again - but there aren't any others available. This lack of professionalism is concerning for the future.

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  • Time to be concerned about those of us who still have to bear the disproportionate burden of responsability - ie Principals - the John Wayne school is still there - we cant pick & choose when we work or who looks at the results when everyone else has gone home at 5.
    Time for change for all of us - huge financial risk, take home less than the employed docs & shoulder all the burden when they decide to have a sick day or insist on having a holiday / day off - time to level the playing field again ...........

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  • Dear John Elder- there is a solution, have you thought of resigning from lucrative partnership and enter into uncertain world of locum!

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