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At the heart of general practice since 1960

A letter to my past self

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Dear Secret Locum,

You will find work whichever road you take

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr Secret Locum and I am actually you. I am writing to you from the year 2016. A cataclysmic event known only as Break Sit which occurred this year has, incredulously, ripped opened up the space-time continuum, allowing me to email you in 2014.

I can, for some reason, only communicate about 600 words, so I want to convey as much as I can to help you. It is now coming up to August, where you will be receiving your CCT and embarking on a world of general practice. I know you are hopeful and excited, but also extremely anxious and confused. I know you’ve thought about doing locum work, maybe try a few different practices before you make any decisions. After all, such freedom after a whole year of training seems so welcome.

My first bit of advice is that you will find work whichever road you take. In fact, once you get your name out there, people will be hounding you for work. Days, nights, weekends – as long as you are willing to put your name forward with others. Every area has a locum list managed by a local organisation such as the LMC or CCG. I would ask your LMC to add you onto their list. Your own practice manager will know practices looking for locum work – make sure you ask her. I found loads of work locally when she sent an email around to other managers. I didn’t even join an agency but that is the other option, if you’re stuck for work. Out of hours providers are constantly looking for work, but be careful of your insurance premiums.

My second bit of advice is to make sure you latch on to your friends in training. I know you’ve been spending a lot of time with your group of friends but make sure you nurture and maintain those relationships. Your friends can offer support, a place to have a moan and generally feel like part of a team, when it is in fact, a very lonely job sometimes. In fact those boozy nights out were perfectly good entries on my portfolio. The internet also affords a great place to network with others and receive support from colleagues. Facebook groups such as Resilient GP were built specifically for this in mind.

My third tip is to pursue those extra interests you’ve been thinking of for years. Get in touch with the medical school because I know you want to do more teaching. Speak to Prof Harris because I know you want to get that special interest in cardiology. You’ve now got all the time in the world. Take the chance and travel and explore new places. You’ve been dreaming about New Zealand for four years, but now you have many friends there - book a flight and just go!

I guarantee that in the coming years you will laugh, you will cry, you will be angry and you will be sad. You will however, also develop into a better, more understanding and rounded doctor and individual. Your wedding (oops I gave that one away) will be spectacular, only eclipsed by the birth of your baby daughter.

Unfortunately my word limit is coming up and I know you have lots of burning questions. I’ll try and answer as many as I can. No, England was rubbish at the world cup and the euros. Yes Jeremy Hunt is still in power (I know - the man is harder to get rid of than herpes.) No, the last Hobbit movie was dreadful. Oh and yes, I can give you the lottery numbers for the next four weeks. They are as follo—

###ERROR. TRANSMISSION TERMINATED###

The secret locum is a locum GP in England

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Readers' comments (7)

  • But my best advice is do not become a GP here or emmigrate. There's a whole world there without hunts, stevenses, gb public with its twisted and ever rising expectations, nhse run by drones programmed not to see gp demise, no local medicine management teams, pointless care-planning without having access to the resources necessary to make difference. World is your oyster, why settle in this toilet sink.

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  • I am sending you all the BS complaint letters you will have to deal with... Please take all necessary precautions to avoid these.. This will save you a lot of time to spend actually helping patients...

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  • Revalidation and appraisal is still a beaurocratic nightmare
    But don't worry or stress it, you are surviving it...so far..

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  • Hilarious joke for you...
    Boris Johnson will famously and in a very
    Winston Churchill like way quote
    the referendum decision to leave the Eurpean Union ... As Our Independence Day
    But will later not become the next Prime minister...
    and will Ironically be the next Foreign minister....
    Hilarious right..
    Hope another split in the time space continuum will allow my future future me some insight as to wether Theresa May
    Is as good or bad as The last Iron Lady...

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  • When you become me..and this space time thing happens
    Tell me the lottery numbers first....
    Taaaaa

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  • This Secret Locum column isn't going to become regular, is it? All of the clichés, including the "secrecy" of the authorship have been already rolled out and it's only the 2nd column.

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  • Good piece secret locum... shame you feel you have to keep your identity secret, there is no shame in locuming.
    I would add that if newly qualified consider joining a learning group
    http://careers.bmj.com/careers/advice/view-article.html?id=20012222

    and also your local sessional GP group
    http://www.rmbf.org/data/PDFs/RMBF_Sessional_GP_Research_2010_final.pdf
    a list of them can be found here
    https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/committees/general-practitioners-committee/gpc-subcommittees/sessional-gps-subcommittee

    our northeast group has been invaluable and has 400 members
    www.nesg.org.uk

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