Working as a locum can be both rewarding and challenging; it is fair to say that the nature of the role doesn’t suit everyone. Putting yourself forward for locum work, particularly in general practice, can be a way for medical professionals that seek variety, to further their experience by tackling a wider range of medical issues.
Some GPs welcome the challenges of having to be adaptable, being required to dive into a new environment headfirst and deal with unfamiliar processes that are relevant just to that particular practice. Others stay clear and prefer the routine of being a permanent part of the furnishings.
If you are a GP locum, or are considering it in the near future, there are several things you can do to minimise your risks in practise, and in the event of a negligence claim against you.
(1) Work within your competence
Locum GPs are frequently recruited and expected to solve all manner of issues at a medical practice.
Although you are there to help bridge the gap with resourcing, it doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to take on an unmanageable volume of work, or work that is outside the scope of your experience.
Signing repeat prescriptions, if you haven’t seen sufficient medical details about the patient, could breach the GMC’s guidelines on safe prescribing. Each doctor is responsible for the prescriptions they issue so if you feel vulnerable, seek further information from patient medical records, practice systems or from other doctors in the practice.
(2) Ensure patient records are thorough and complete
Locums frequently will only see a patient once. Therefore, updating patient records thoroughly is vital for an efficient patient handover to the next doctor on the case.
Most locums are aware of this, but it is easy to miss important points when the clock it ticking and there is a high expectation of your time.
To minimise risk, locum GP’s are always encouraged to double check all medical notes for accuracy and completeness.
This ensures the maximum efforts are made to ensure that patient continuity of care is respected.
(3) Use of practice IT systems
If you are providing locum services at a new practice, it is essential that you get your own login and password to the patient medical records. This means that a complete audit can take place of the medical advice and guidance you provide to patients.
Practices should also have an information pack to enable you to work safely and within protocol.
If these are not offered to you, then request them from the practice manger as these will minimise your risk during your time in the practice.
Medical Indemnity insurance for locum GPs
A vital consideration to minimise your risk as a locum GP is to ensure you have the correct level of Indemnity Insurance.
Sourcing the best quality of medical indemnity cover has become more challenging in recent years and insurance companies have adjusted the way they assess risk.
This has made it more difficult for certain medical professionals to get the insurance they need to cover their risk in practice.
Out of hours workers and locums are two segments of the medical profession that have been most affected by rising premiums.
There are only a small number of insurance providers that offer policies for GPs with regards to indemnity.
All Med Pro, have built relationships with all these providers.
As specialists in your sector, we help hundreds of GP’s every year with their insurance, including indemnity for locum GPs.
Benefits of our Medical Indemnity policies include:
- Allegations of clinical negligence
- Contractual certainty – this means you will contractually be covered in the case of a claimIndemnity up to £10,000,000 – which meets NHS England’s guidelines
- Locum doctors are also covered
- As are those medical professionals that provide
- Out of Hours care
- Usually Meningitis is covered too, as standard
- Good Samaritan acts
- Cover for minor surgery procedures
- Cover for fitness to practice hearings
If you are a locum GP, carrying out medico-legal work, you need to ensure you also have the right level of medical indemnity insurance.
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