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.’