The Importance of Preparation and Evaluation


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Network Locum (now Lantum) Guide for appraisals:

The importance of preparation and evaluation

By Dr Ishani Patel


There is a huge variety in the practices a GP locum may work in on a day to day basis. This can be both a pleasure and a cause for dissatisfaction! 

To avoid common pitfalls of locum life, Network Locum (now Lantum) recommend that you complete the following checklist before your session starts. This will maximise your efficiency and contribute to a seamless, less stressful and fluent shift!

  1. Is there an induction pack - ensure you give yourself enough time to read through it!
  2. Where are the local hospitals and are there any primary care services or community clinics that are a preferred pathway?
  3. Is there a practice formulary? Are there any prescribing restrictions or incentives?
  4. Who can you call if you need administrative, IT or clinical support?
  5. What is the administration process - do you type the referral letters/templates or dictate?
  6. Where are the emergency drugs, oxygen and defibrillator stored?
  7. Where is the safety alarm and how do you notify the practice staff in the event of an emergency i.e. an assault or patient collapse

A key component of your appraisal includes reflection on Domain 3 within the GMC’s Good Medical Practice (2013) which focuses on Communication, partnership and teamwork.

As a locum it can be a struggle to provide evidence for this section of your appraisal and here is where Network locum can help! We are launching a new evaluation document, which will enable you to provide convincing, robust evidence to effectively demonstrate your commitment to ensuring quality as a GP locum.

These reflection prompts have been developed in collaboration with a group of London-based GP appraisers, providing a unique angle for GP locums. After each session Network Locum (now Lantum) will e-prompt you to fill in this evaluation document in order to accumulate the right kind of evidence as a GP locum. 

Here is a selection of some of the reflective questions:

Did you receive an induction?

A good induction will ensure a seamless, problem free way of working; you will know who to contact for IT or administrative support, how to seek clinical support or provide feedback for a complex case. It is essential to know where the emergency medications, oxygen and defibrillator are stored and where your safety alarm can be accessed promptly and discreetly.

Were there any situations where you felt uncomfortable or unsupported?

I am sure that you can recall a situation where you felt uncomfortable -  perhaps you were unfamiliar with the local hospital services or community clinics and this may have affected your confidence in a consultation.

In order to feel confident your preparation needs to be thorough - you will then be able to signpost patients appropriately. A patient is more likely to give positive feedback if they feel you are aware of the local and secondary care services in the area.

Did you feel you had enough time to complete the administration demands from today’s session?

Before a shift, it is important to know how much of the time is clinical and how much is dedicated to administration, bearing in mind that most jobs only pay you for your clinical time. Ahead of the shift, you may wish to contact the surgery and organise your appointment slots in a way that suits you, provided you are fulfilling the number of clinical hours required.

Did you feel safe?

Sadly, one of the dangers of being a GP is that you may be faced with unpredictable or violent patients. Knowing where your safety alarm/panic button is situated is all part of your preparation.

Did you receive any direct feedback today?

You can record thumbs up received through Network Locum (now Lantum) in your appraisal by uploading a screenshot image.

You may wish to provide more qualitative evidence by requesting feedback from the practice directly and your patients anonymously. Whilst communication with your patients is paramount, so is ensuring communication with your colleagues who support your session.

By taking the time to answer these questions before and after each session, you can accumulate a stock of valuable evidence, proving that you meet the requirements and are continually committed to maintaining the GMC's Domain 3 standards.

For more information access the GMC’s Good Medical Practice (2013) by clicking on the links below.

And remember it is better to collect evidence along the way than leave things things to the last minute! Don’t forget to upload your evaluation documents to your appraisal toolkit - you can accrue the time spent completing this document as CPD points!

Dr Ishani Patel




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