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The benefits of a good internal locum system

Internal locums are GPs who are members of the permanent partnership workforce, partners or salaried, who agree to do extra work within the practice for a full locum fee. This system has many advantages.

Most GPs hate doing extra work, often at short notice, for no reimbursement. Being able to claim a locum fee has a profound psychological effect. A wall of silence can be converted into a sea of hands.

Most GPs, even full-timers, get some time off during the week when they could do locum work by choice.

Where the need for locum cover is predictable the locum is offered internally first. An external locum is only sought if none of the in-house GPs is available.

For short notice unpredictable cover the locum is once again offered internally then externally. If there are no takers then one or more of the in-house doctors is obliged to cover ­ but at least they get paid.

The GP submits an invoice to the practice and is paid separately from normal drawings.

It should be agreed that the GP doing the internal locum would only do the same amount of work as an external locum. This allows a more finite and less stressful time slot as well as encouraging more GPs to take part.

This work should also be fully superannuable under the new contract arrangements.

Most practices using this system find it popular and smaller practices can run it jointly. It is also a boon to practice managers who subsequently spend less time chasing external locums.

Where the need for locum cover is predictable, the locum is offered internally first~

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