Sick/Absent Doctor – what to do, priorities and finding a locum

Practice Leads

  • Admin: Chris Rushton & Pam Brown

Date Reviewed

4th May 2016

Date of Next Review

September 2017

This webpage provides information for admin staff what to do when, for instance, a doctor calls in unexpectedly sick.    The whole point of this is the keep the service going for patients, minimising any chaos and protecting the remaining doctors from overload.

The Aims

When a doctor rings in sick or is unexpectedly away for whatever reason, there are two priorities that need to be kept in your mind.

    In other words, you need to find someone to do the emergency surgeries that the absent doctor would have done.  This is number 1 priority over anything else.   There must be an emergency doctor allocated every morning and every afternoon.
    To reiterate: emergency surgeries are the main priority but after that, start sorting out a replacement for the routine ones.

The Process

  • The Doctor will need to ring Pam or Chris about their sickness/absence ASAP.   You should telephone the Assistant Practice Manager (or Practice Manager in their absence) to give details no later than 8am on your first day of absence, also stating when you will next contact them or intend to return to work.
  • Pam and Chris will inform each other and discuss a way forwards (see guidance below).

Replacing Emergency Surgery

  1. First of all, convert all BOOK ON THE DAY (BOD) appointments to emergency surgery appoiments.   Tell staff to only book in patients with an urgent and NOT routine need.   If at a later stage you can get a doctor to do a separate emergency surgery, these appointments can be changed back to BOD again.
  2. Also add 2 emergency slots to the end of each working doctor's surgery.  These are to be used only if you desperately need to book a patient in and are NOT to be used willy nilly.   ((If you later manage to secure an internal or external locum, DO NOT use these slots before using the locum ones.
  3. Ask internally whether any doctors can do a locum as emergency doctor
  4. Seek an external locum to be an emergency doctor.
  5. If there is a scheduled Medical Student tutorial - speak to supervisor whether they can postpone and do a joint emergency surgery instead.
  6. If there is a scheduled GP Trainer/Trainee tutorial - ask them if they can do emergency surgery together (& postpone tutorial for another day - but schedule it in)
  7. If there is a GP with an admin session scheduled for that day - ask them if they can do emergency surgery and their admin session postponed for another day,
  8. Remember - if you do manage to get a doctor to do a separate emergency surgery, change previously converted appointments back to BOD again.  Otherwise, leave them as they are.
  9. Tell admin staff what is happening and what they should be saying/doing.
  10. Contact the GP partners working that day and tell them what is happening and to ensure nothing overlooked.
  11. Inform other working GPs - for information.

Replacing Routine Surgery

Now work on replacing the routine surgery appointments that the surgery will be missing (in a similar way to all but point 5 above).

Locum Companies

  • Yorkshire Medical Chambers  - ask Chris for password to access the locum booking section of the website.  Our ODS code is B83062  Their webpage is here.  It should be straight forward.  To request a booking, click on request a session and add in the dates you need cover for and whether you want a am or pm or both, this will then email their admin team with the request which they will see who is available and reply.  From there you will receive an email with a link asking for you to confirm the sessions, just check and confirm as well as ticking the terms and conditions, then that should be it for each booking.  To view a booking, click on the sessions icon, then you can choose the dates you wish to view what you have booked.
  • Trust locums – – 01274 853190
  • Clinical – – 01254 682777
  • Locum staffing – David.Hill@locumstaffing – 01582 394816 or 01582 394 836
  • Agenda medical – Ross Craddock – – 01992 501515
  • Chase medical – – 0114 2757421

Expect to pay £90-100 per surgery hour – 10 min appts, on systmone, £20-30 per visit unless included as a full day booking.

When booking locums...

  • Locums must be on certain lists and the practice person booking the locum needs to see current and valid certificates for the locum being on the following lists....
    1. Being on the performers/contractors list,
    2. An enhanced DBS certificate
    3. GMC certificate
    4. Medical Defence cover certificate as locum GP (which must cover period to be worked)
  • Smart card number and how their name exactly shows on it – needs Ashcroft adding to this card number.
  • Bradford NHS log in – needs setting up or use the generic one for locums (no internet access with this latter non personal login route)
  • Show them process for referrals and our electronic locum pack – especially fast tracks, requesting in-house bloods etc.

If the patient refuses

  • If the patient is offered and does not want a chaperone it is important to record that the offer was made and declined. If a chaperone is refused a healthcare professional cannot usually insist that one is present and many will examine the patient without one.
  • Where the patient declines but the doctor or other health professional feels uneasy about this (e.g. because there is a real risk of false allegation, unpredicatable behaviour from the patient), a chaperone should still be sought - explain to the patient why you would like one present and see if the patient will (without any coercion) agree.    Otherwise, book the patient in with another health professional (of the same sex) - this situation is very rare.

Roughly how much a locum should cost (2015)

Type of surgery Cost Cost inc pension Notes **Maximum time
12 Patient surgery no visits £220 £248.31   2hrs 30mins
14 Patient Surgery no visits £250 £282.18   3 hrs
15 Patient Surgery no visits £270 £304.75   3 hrs 15 mins
16 Patient Surgery no visits £288 £325.10   3 hrs 30mins
18 Patient Surgery no visits £324 £365.70   4 hrs
12 Patient Surgery plus 1 Visit £256 £288.95 Further visits at members discretion but charged at £35 3 hrs
14 Patient Surgery plus 1 visit £290 £327.33 Further visits at members discretion but charged at £35 3 hrs 30 mins
15 Patient Surgery plus 1 visit £315 £355.54 Further visits at members discretion but charged at £35 4hrs
16 Patient Surgery plus 1 visit £330 £372.47 Further visits at members discretion but charged at £35 4 hrs 15 mins
Daily session 08:30-5:30pm or 9-6pm to include one 18 patient surgery plus visits and one 12 patient surgery (or 2* 15 patient surgeries plus visits) £595 £671.58 Other duties may be undertaken by members whilst there on discussion with the chambers 9 hrs
Evenings after 18.30 and weekends per hour


£95 £107.23