Five problems you’ll never have as a chambers locum

Hester Dunlop

Let’s face it, its daunting to take that first step as a GP locum. And, although some of us thrive on challenge and change, most of us can feel overwhelmed when we start to think about taking that first step. I know I was. A decade ago I was feeling disillusioned with my job and thought locum work could be the answer. I’m a risk-averse sort of person so, of course, I hesitated. Then I found The Medical Chambers and never looked back.

Whether it’s finding work, getting your paperwork and invoicing straight, working alone, keeping up to date or simply not being able to park within half a mile of a surgery - The Medical Chambers has got your back.   

We’ve been established for over a decade, by GPs and for GPs, and have supported hundreds of doctors just like me as we venture into locum work. We are not an agency and work in a collaborative, sustainable and affordable way with doctors and practices to put a smile on your face and control back in your pocket.   

So, here’s what you’ll be saying goodbye to:

  • Finding work
  • Income worries
  • Stress on the job
  • Paperwork
  • Working alone

#1. Finding work

The number one question most of us ask is “will I have enough work?” and our answer is Yes! Yes! Yes!    

We fill the majority of sessions our members request. Even during lock-down we secured enough work because of our strong reputation with local providers, PCNs and CCGs.   

So, whether you are thinking of 1 or 2 sessions a week, working full time or have carer responsibilities that limit your hours, we’re confident we can match you with work that suits.  

And, unlike the big online locum platforms, we have an experienced administration team available in real time to talk to you, who listen to your needs and negotiate with local practices to fill your sessions.  

#2. Income worries

Let’s not pretend, it can feel challenging. Locum work can feel riskier, especially as you have no sick or holiday pay. Whether you’re taking a step out of a partnership, a salaried job or are newly qualified, being confident of a secure income is key.  

While the media is full of stories about locums earning megabucks, we know that hunting for and negotiating regular work can be time consuming and demanding.  

As a chambers doctor, we can say with confidence that your income is likely to be predictable and stable. And you can set aside a rainy-day fund or take out insurance to cover illness.  

Our IT system allows you to set your own hourly rates against our standard templates and we are on hand to guide you with this.  You can adjust rates for future bookings by practice, location or distance from home.   So, if you like working a place and are happy to drop your rate you can, or if you know the place is more challenging then you can raise it.  

And as always, we have a live administration team who know your needs and help you if you feel you are not getting this right  

#3. Stress on the job

Most locums say that taking control of the demands of the working day without the pressure of late home visits, three extras at the end of surgery or lunchtime practice meetings is life changing. But in chambers we go the extra mile.   

We have a modular template system with clear unit timings for all activities be it telephone consultations, face to face, home visits, e consultation with built-in catch-up time every hour. Each session can be as short as 2 hours or as long as 4 hours.  So, you’ll know exactly what you can expect to be doing at any session.  

But if you should turn up and find there’s a problem with IT or the work you're expected to do our admin team will step in in real time to sort things out so that you can get on with the job.   

And we are here to help with a one to one and peer review system for any complaints, should you be unlucky enough to experience this. In other words, we’ve got your back.  

#4 Paperwork

Now here’s where we really excel in chambers. 

There are plenty of guides around the internet about the nuts and bolts of working as a locum but it’s still hard not to be daunted, just like our patients it feels so much better to talk to someone about all this stuff instead working through a checklist and hoping you’ve got it right.  

So, whether it’s having checked your certificates, mandatory training, invoicing and pension contributions we take all that stress off your hands. We have a one stop shop for your certificates, simple two click technologies to upload forms with the pension agency, an invoicing system with fierce back up for late payments by our admin team and free updates from NB Medical for your mandatory training.  

But best of all we have a real human being available to talk through any glitches and concerns whether its tax, pensions or invoicing and who will work on your behalf to find solutions.  

#5. Working alone

No problem you may say – I love the solitary independent life. That’s fine. And many people do.  But if you’re like me I prefer being part of a team. My biggest fear about starting as a locum was missing my colleagues. Having someone to talk to, think with, inspire me or support has been a key part of my career.  

Our local chambers groups are set up to be a community – not a virtual one but a real, pandemic permitting, in person group of doctors. We are many and varied – young and old, portfolio types or full-time locums, GPwSI, writers, educators, politicos and appraisers who meet every 2 weeks to share and care, moan and learn, and of course, food provided! 

We have live conversations with each other via social media every day.  If you have a question, you need answering – it’s usually quicker than knocking on someone’s door in the practice you're working in. And we hold a regular conference and social events from escape rooms to canal trips to crazy golf and meals out.    


So, there you have it. It may not be for all of you, but Chambers is the best way I’ve found to work as a locum, risk free.  You have all the freedom of being independent but with a personal back up team for all the administrative and clinical challenges you will face. I’ve gone from being a GP who was ready to quit a decade ago to working past my retirement.  Chambers will put a smile back on your face and let you get on with the thing you do best. being a GP.  

If you’re interested in finding out more about The Medical Chambers, why not get in touch and book a chat with Lauren our manager who would love to help you re-find your passion for general practice.  

Be the GP you want to be

Impax Hub