Advantages and disadvantages of being a Locum GP, Salaried GP and GP Partner

Having recently joined the team at MCG Healthcare, I've been reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of being a locum, salaried or partner GP. So, if you’re considering one of the many different types of GP jobs, let’s take a look…

Locum GP

This pathway gives GPs the most control over where and when they work, and is also potentially a very lucrative option. When taking this route, most GPs find it beneficial to use a GP locum recruitment agency, like MCG Healthcare, as their profession doesn’t allow much time to dedicate to job hunting. Being a locum GP however does offer more flexibility and provides a much better work life balance. There is the option to also work out of hours in Urgent Care Centres and Walk in Centres. Working out of hours is very well paid but results in working during evenings, weekends and nights.

The primary disadvantage of being a locum is that there is no guarantee of working all the days you are available. Some GPs take long term roles to overcome this issue. However, some locum GPs in certain areas have struggled to find work in the last 6 months due to Covid 19. This has resulted in a fifth of our locums taking salaried or Partner roles. Another disadvantage is that it can be a very lonely role if you are working at different surgeries on a regular basis. A locum GP salary is usually higher than a salaried GP, but you don’t have the same protections such as sickness and holiday pay.

Salaried GP

This option provides you with the stability of a fixed timetable and income. You are an employee of the GP Surgery, so have certain rights and protections such as Sick Pay, Holiday Pay and Maternity/Paternity leave. Another advantage of being a salaried GP is that you are part of a team which can provide you with support and guidance.
The primary disadvantage of being a salaried GP is that the remunerations are lower than a locum GP and you generally have to work harder affecting your work life balance.

Partner GP/Principle GP

A GP Partner will share responsibility for the running of the business and gives you the most control over how the practice develops. This pathway provides stability and is often very attractive financially. As well as clinical work, a GP Partner would be responsible for the business – this can include management, staff, and ensuring you meet all the legal requirements in the running of the practice.

The main pitfall with being a GP Partner is that it is a big commitment and you may have to “buy in” to become a partner. The other issue is that depending on your location you may struggle with recruiting salaried GPs and this would result in spending on using locum GPs.

Other Pathways

You have many choices as a GP, and your preference may change as your circumstances do. The other options to consider are roles working remotely via digital platforms or working in prisons. Remember that choosing one option does not usually close the others off to you, so you may locum for a few months or years to see how different practices work, before taking a salaried job. For the more adventurous among you, you might think about working abroad, volunteering in the developing world, or even combining luxury travel with work by becoming a ship’s doctor.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution – none of these options are better or worse, it is about finding what suits you and your situation – this may change over time.


About the author
Nitesh Patel Recruitment Consultant

Nitesh Patel is a Recruitment Consultant at MCG Healthcare, specialising in placing General Practitioners on a salaried and locum basis throughout England, Scotland, and Wales. Nitesh enjoys building long-lasting relationships with GPs.

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