Made possible by

NHS NASGP BOB STP GP Retention Fund

Why should I join a local Chambers?

A team of peers

  • You will be part of a team that will provide an indispensable service for local GP practices
  • You will make friends and feel a collective sense of belonging and purpose

Save time and hassle

  • You’ll save time finding work, managing your bookings, invoicing and dealing with NHS pension forms, and chasing late payments - it’s all done for you in a BOB Locum Chamber.

CPD

  • Your CPD and training needs will be largely catered for. From the small intimate safe space of your regular Chamber meetings, where you can discuss cases and significant events in confidence with your Chamber locum peers, to larger educational events facilitated by the Chamber’s training hub links, you’ll have plenty of evidence for your appraisal.

Support through thick and thin

  • You’ll get support through significant events and complaints. Your chamber management team subscribe to the NASGP Code of Good Practice which recognises that as individual doctors we have a responsibility for our own learning and conduct. But our performance is also determined by the systems we work in. In other words, errors rarely occur simply because of the failings of one individual; there’s usually a fault in the system that forces the error. Locums have the double jeopardy of being most at risk of falling foul of weak systems and then more likely to be individually blamed for system failings. LocumDeck Chambers, being the embodiment of NASGP’s core values, therefore promote an open human factors, system-first approach to analysing significant events.

Collective voice

  • Turn your valuable and unique insights as a locum into actionable information that can make a difference to local quality. As a member of a chamber with a Clinical Director and formal clinical governance structures, you will have a collective voice with more say in bringing about improvement in local systems.

How much will it cost me?

Each BOB Locum Chamber charges its locums a small tax-claimable fee to cover all its running costs; to keep this as low as possible, practices are also charged a very small booking fee for each session booked.

If you would like more information on this, please contact the BOB Chamber Manager.

How do I join a local Chambers?

If you’re already an NASGP member and/or are using LocumDeck, click on the new ‘Chambers near me’ widget in the LocumDeck dashboard.

OR

Contact the BOB Chamber Manager who’ll show you the few quick steps you need to get underway. Once you’ve applied, we’ll arrange for you to meet or speak with your chamber’s GP locum chamber lead.

How will a chamber work for me?

For career/experienced locums

Share your knowledge and wisdom of having worked in different practices over a period of time; as well as supporting colleagues, you’ll discover more opportunities to extend your network and be involved with new leadership opportunities.


For GPs new to locuming in the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West area

As a newly qualified GP, or if you are new to the area, your chamber will support you in navigating the many different local structures and processes of healthcare systems and organisations - hospitals, services and practices. Be part of a team of locums, benefiting from their experiences and combined support, with all aspects of your work facilitated by the chambers management team.


For mid-career GPs

If you’re contemplating taking a break from working in the same practice, your chambers will support you in finding work in as many local practices as you are looking for, adopting your personal terms and availability to do so.

Become part of a ‘virtual practice’ under the BOB Locum Chambers initiative and seize a new future!


For pre-retirement GPs

Your deep and intimate experiences of having been in the same practice for many years can be an invaluable source of wisdom to younger and less experienced GPs, as well as the practices you’ll be working in. And equally, there’s much to be gained by working closely with other GPs who’ve already adapted to, and are thriving by, working across many different practices.

Having already given so much, your chamber will support you to hand over that wisdom to a new generation, and help you spread best practice across the area.

More FAQs

I’m already in a locum group. So why would I want a chamber?

It goes without saying that Chambers locums get excellent levels of admin and booking support. But, if you already are part of a locum group, what else can a chamber do for you?

Collectivise: Top of the list would be more power in numbers to improve terms of engagement with practices to benefit our morale, the practice’s efficiency and the safety and quality of care for patients.

Get any group of locums together and very quickly they often start comparing notes about their experiences - the good and the bad - of working in different practices. But working as individuals, if one of our colleagues has suffered poor engagement or a misunderstanding with a practice, there is often little we can do except offer sympathy and maybe make a personal mental note to be wary of working in that practice ourselves. In essence, we are relatively powerless to change things alone. And you’ll probably be talking about the same old problems at the same practice at the next group meeting.

In contrast, by enabling collective, constructive feedback, from a chamber with real power to intervene in booking arrangements you are in a much stronger position to bring about positive, concrete change which benefits the locums, practices and patients.

Be on the map: Chambers often develop a local identity and a sense of belonging as part of the local health landscape, rather like a “virtual practice”, meaning you will have a formal point of contact with local health systems and be kept up to date with local care pathways, structures and communications.

Sustain your locum group meetings and activities: Meeting with GP locum peers can be a lifeline in helping learning and appraisal, tackling professional isolation and supporting morale. But too often these valuable support networks are fragile; unfunded and run by voluntary effort; at risk of collapse if a key organising member withdraws; formed or joined on the basis of a series of chance contacts, with no clear doorway to new members or the most at risk isolated colleagues.

By pooling resources with your fellow chamber members, contributions paid by all of you will support and strengthen what is most valuable and enjoyable about locum group meetings, ensuring their viability and putting you on the map as a formal fixture with clear signposting for new joiners.


Would I still remain self-employed?

In a LocumDeck chamber you are an independent professional, determining your own work patterns and the fees you charge practices for your services.

You are not employed by the chamber. The chamber model has numerous features that increase the likelihood of you being regarded as self-employed in your relationships with practices.


Can the chambers model offer any help with IR35 issues?

Yes, all bookings are made through a carefully defined set of T&Cs that include key clauses to help cover issues around IR35. In particular, the principle of ‘substitutability’, whereby a self-employed person is able to bring in another GP of their choice to replace them for a session of work. Substitution is a hard one to pull off as an independent self-employed locum, but as a chamber locum, because of the shared infrastructure and management system, substitutability is actually one of the many services that the chamber can provide.


Can I continue working within my own Limited Company?

Yes - in a LocumDeck chamber you are a self-employed professional, determining your own work patterns and the fees you charge practices for your services.


Will I be able to contribute to the NHS pension scheme?

In a LocumDeck Chamber, you set your own fees and decide whether you are claiming NHS pension. Your invoices to practices are managed on your behalf by the chamber, but the payment is made directly to you. You are therefore eligible to contribute to the NHS pension scheme for GP locum work carried out in eligible employing authority workplaces.


Who sets the Terms and Conditions of your GP locum work in each practice?

LocumDeck Chamber will have a framework of standard boilerplate terms designed by NASGP and adopted by your Chamber management team to ensure that you and the practice have fair, balanced, transparent terms of engagement. These cover matters like:

  • Chamber-wide policy on what happens in the event of a cancellation of a booking
  • The payment terms of your invoice and what happens in the event of late payment which is managed on your behalf by the chamber management team
  • Open, constructive, human factor approach to managing significant events to protect patients, doctors and improve systems

The actual day-to-day work in practices - when, where and your workload in each practice and the fee you charge for this is entirely determined by you.


Will I be able to set my own working sessions?

In a LocumDeck chamber, you determine your own session structures, which practices you want to work in and when. One of the great features of LocumDeck Chamber is that it gives you control and flexibility, even letting you design your session structures at the level of each individual practice if you like.

The chamber management team may also offer you suggested chamber session templates which they may design from feedback from what local practices or access clinics need. But it is up to you if you adopt these and you still get to decide what fee to charge.


Do I set my own session fees in LocumDeck Chambers?

In a LocumDeck Chamber, each GP locum determines their own fees for their services to practices. You also determine if you are claiming NHS pension, and this is made clear to the practice throughout the transparent booking process.


How do I get paid if I am a member of a LocumDeck Chamber?

The invoice generated by the chamber is in your name and will include your bank account details and payment terms. The practice will either pay you direct via BACS, or by cheque sent for the full amount to your home address.


How are bookings made in LocumDeck Chambers?

A proactive booking method is mainly used - you plan in advance when you’re available to work, and set out the working parameters for each practice you want to be booked by. Your chosen practices can then see the specific session types and fee, alongside your Credentials and the chamber T&Cs covering important matters like the cancellation policy.

  • For the practices, this means that when they need locum cover, they can login to LocumDeck and see what bookable availability is being offered and make an instant direct online booking. They have all the information they need to make a direct booking online - to our knowledge this is the quickest, clearest booking process available to practices.
  • For GP locums, it means that you don’t have to spend time and energy looking for work - instead the work you want finds you.

There is a back-up method of the traditional reactive way of making bookings so if a practice cannot find suitable cover on LocumDeck, they can send an availability request to the Chamber management team for circulation to the GP members.

Practices are also able to contact the Chamber management team to discuss more complex or bespoke booking requirements.


Can practices advertise their requirements and I book my availability against that, rather than the other way round?

Yes, that’s possible and already built into LocumDeck. Going forward, we’re enabling practices to add even more information about the session they are looking to fill to these requests, but they will not be able to set rates.


If I am in the supermarket and bump into the practice manager from a local practice I'm not currently working at, and they ask if I can work tomorrow, can LocumDeck accommodate that?

Yes. Ad hoc work opportunities like this can be managed in a few easy steps if you’re a LocumDeck Chamber locum. You’ll be able to immediately check your availability on your LocumDeck calendar synced on the calendar of your choice on your smartphone. LocumDeck then has various ways the booking can be added, so it gets picked up and processed for your invoicing and pension forms.

This ad hoc contact would be a great chance to invite the practice onto LocumDeck if they’re not already on it, so that next time they need your services they can either book you in one step online or, if you’re not showing bookable availability when they require it, they can send you an Availability Request.


Can I only work in certain practices?

You are in complete control of what practices you work in, when and what type of work you do. If you want, you can tailor your session types for different practices. The chamber does not restrict in which practices you work.


If I want to work in practices outside the BOB area, how does LocumDeck accommodate that? How does the chamber charge the practice the booking fee?

It’s a fact of life and one of the great attributes of GP locums that we are flexible and work across boundaries. Your chamber is defined by the locum members who work in it and the practices they choose to engage with, so there is no geographical boundary as such.

LocumDeck can accommodate you booking sessions in any practice. If the practice is not currently on the platform, this would be a great chance for you to invite them onto the platform so that they can easily book you online or, if you’re not showing bookable availability when they require it, they can send you an Availability Request.


Can LocumDeck accommodate differing work patterns week on week? e.g. can I set my availability by actual date rather than 'every Tuesday 9-11'

Yes. LocumDeck’s booking system was designed to accomodate the huge variability of locum working patterns and give you flexibility and control to fit your locum bookable availability around any schedule you have, however variable it may be.

As a chamber locum, you are in control of your bookable availability and you can vary it hour by hour, day by day, week to week, and update it whenever you like.


Can I still book work outside of chambers?

There is no problem with carrying out any non-locum work outside of the chamber. Examples would be if you have another GP post in a non-locum capacity, such as a salaried or partnership post, or any non-GP roles you carry out e.g appraiser.

To sustain the chamber and maintain a sense of fairness, collaboration and sharing of pooled resources, chamber locums are usually expected to book all their freelance GP locum sessions through the chambers.


I work as part of a Hub/OOH/Appraisal team - activity which is not part of the chambers. How does LocumDeck accommodate that work pattern? Does it sync with my Outlook calendar for example?

LocumDeck allows you to add any other commitments you have to your online LocumDeck calendar - from your appraisal sessions to dental appointments. The advantage of adding these types of appointments to your LocumDeck calendar is that it will then automatically prevent you from calendar clashes e.g. making yourself available for booking during your other commitments such as your kid’s school play.

You can also ‘push’ all your LocumDeck events to your regular online calendars and devices, like Google Calendar, Outlook and calendar apps on all your devices.


Why should GP locums pay for this?

You, along with your fellow GP locums in the chamber, each pay a contribution towards the administrative and professional support services that are provided by the chamber. The chamber is, in effect, your membership club, and is there to support you through thick and thin. It will probably be one of the rare times in your career as a doctor that you will feel supported by a group with no other agenda than your welfare and morale.


Is there a risk the chamber might get seen as a marketplace by the practices - e.g. they will just choose the GP who's rates are lowest.

Such a market place has always existed; practice managers already know the rates of all locums available to them. With messaging apps like WhatsApp, email list servers, and online locum agency tech platforms, which tend not to have booking processes that are designed to cope with nuances of placing skilled GPs in highly variable, safety-critical workplaces, cost is often pretty much the only information available for a practice manager and locum to make a booking decision.

This is completely different with LocumDeck Chambers. As well as there being other important information exchanged between the practice and locum that will influence the manager’s decision to book you - references, CV, T&Cs, actual availability, ability to book instantly, and much more - with the chambers, you also have even more factors that give the practice greater utility and reassurance that positively influence their tendency to book you on factors other than just the cost.


What impact will LocumDeck GP locum chambers have on GP locums who don’t want to join?

Joining the Chamber is completely a matter of choice for each GP locum. We hope we have set out the case that there is no hidden agenda to impose pay caps or enforce working conditions. The only agenda is to give our GP locum colleagues a formal rallying point/home to join a supportive environment.

If there is a hidden agenda it is this - that if as GPs you are supported, you might stay in general practice, you might stay in the area, you might find a suitable substantive post. If you find the administrative and professional support increases your confidence and frees up some time, you might feel able to offer more cover in new places. If you are provided with a collective voice and sense of local identity, you will be better able to act on your special insights you have as GP locums and help in quality improvement across the local health care system. And if you are closely linked in to educational opportunities and local information about ever-changing pathways and service information - then you are going to be even better able to engage seamlessly with practices and spread best practice.

If you’re an established locum and don’t want to join, then the usual experience in areas where there are Chambers is that life will continue much as it did before. In fact, often non-chamber locums report that their experience with engaging practices improves as the practice and chamber learn how to get the best from each party and this learning transfers to other locum engagements.

So if you don’t join, you’re unlikely to lose what you have. But you will be missing out on what you could gain.

LocumDeck Chambers has been shaped by NASGP and is the embodiment of many of the themes that the NASGP have long highlighted. Within the BOB area, you are fortunate to have an enlightened federation of practices that agrees to all these principles and is fully onboard with the vision of creating a home for GP locums, so much so that it was their suggestion that, as practices will benefit, the cost should be shared. It is a great and valuable opportunity to create a new way of engaging with practices and the wider healthcare system that benefits you, the practices and our patients.

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