Published 16th August 2017
Do I need it?
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) set up in accordance with the Social Care Act in 2012, states that GP partners are required to provide care for the thousands of people in their area. This sounds like a relatively straightforward and reasonable requirement, but if a GP practice unexpectedly becomes short-staffed, the practice is legally obliged to make alternative staffing arrangements. These staffing arrangements often come in the form of a locum GP.
Locum doctors can sometimes be the only option to remedy mounting waiting lists, and fast. But they don’t come cheap. A full-time locum can cost in excess of £2500 for one week! In an ideal world your core staff should suffice when running a GP practice, but in reality you’ll almost always need backup. This is where locum insurance comes to the rescue.
Locum insurance is designed to cover costs incurred if a practitioner cannot work. A practice’s key workers need insuring from a plethora of work absence issues, and depending on which GP locum insurance policy is taken out, practices can be covered for workers who go on maternity or paternity leave, or if they become injured, if they are suspended from practice, have pregnancy related illness, jury service, family illness or suffer stress or depression
So how does locum insurance work?
Essentially, locum insurance puts money in your hands if a practitioner or a member of the practice staff is unable to work. If you have to use a locum doctor your insurance will kick in and ‘fund’ the locum. It’s a key part of risk management planning.
Insurers offer a number of different policies to choose from:
- Practices need to decide whether to choose between long-term permanent cover or annually renewable cover
- As mentioned, there are a huge number of reasons for staff absences. Therefore a GP practice will have to decide whether their surgery insurance will cover staff due to illness and injury, or expand that cover to include factors such as jury service, suspension or delayed return from holiday. Your policy can also be extended to needlestick cover, including occupationally acquired HIV.
- A decision has to be made on how much your locum insurance you can afford. Prices often range from £200 to £3,000 a week
- GP locum insurance can be set up by a practice or an individual practitioner. Therefore, an individual can decide his or her policy, which may include extensive measures to suit their particular needs
- Locum insurance isn’t restricted to GPs and doctors, in fact, dentists, opticians, vets and pharmacies can take out locum cover for the same reasons; to protect their workforce and funds, to ensure their practice runs efficiently.
With a wide variety of policies available, it is beneficial to use a broker who can put you in touch with the best possible insurer. We have access to those specialist brokers who can tailor your insurance directly to suit your needs.
Points to consider:
- Different policies suit different practices and what might work for one might not be cost effective for another
- You may choose to insure a number of people in your practice. If this is the case, you may be eligible for a group discount
- In the event of a claim how long could you wait until you start receiving money from your policy?
- If you haven’t reviewed your policy in a number of years there’s a chance you could be paying a premium that’s too high for your surgery’s needs. We have access to specialist advisors who can potentially bring your costs down.
Whether you are an individual doctor, dentist, optician or vet wanting a policy in your own name or a practice needing cover for your practitioners or staff, the advisors we work with can find the policy for your needs.
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