Career advice for locum doctors - salaried vs partnership positions


As  a locum doctor, it’s important to look forward to your future and make decisions about how you want your career to develop. Working at a practice, your options are a salaried GP or becoming a partner. As a partner you have the potential to earn more, but it also comes with more risks and recent changes have encouraged practices to take on salaried GPs rather than partners. In this blog post, we discuss the various aspects of a partnership you need to consider before making your choice.

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The deal you sign up to will affect your entitlement to the share of the profits. For the first three years you might be on 80% of parity. This means you will receive ⅘ of a portion of the profits (if there are four partners, this would be 25%). However, you need to be aware that if property prices drop and interest rates rise, you might end up with negative profit share, meaning you lose income. It’s important to fully understand any risks you’re entering into, so have a medical accountant go over the practice accounts before you sign any partnership deal

Buying in

You might be asked to buy in on a mortgage on the practice. Again, to avoid losing money, the practice should have two independent valuations of the property before you enter into any deals. Also, if a partner leaves the partnership, the cost of their share of a lease will need to paid out of practice profits.

Check for a green socks or compulsory retirement clause

Make sure to ask if there is a ‘compulsory retirement clause’ included in your contract. This means that the other partners can easily dismiss you if they feel you don’t fit with no reason required.

Differences as a salaried GP

As a salaried GP you are working as an employee and may not claim tax expenses or receive profit shares. You’ll be working as hard as a GP partner by attending practice meetings and assisting with staff employment issues, but without the performance-based rewards. You might choose to join as a salaried GP with a view to becoming a partner, but make sure that the time period is stipulated in your contract, otherwise you might find yourself working for a long time in vain!

As well as potentially earning less, you will also have a more passive role in the practice with less opportunity to be involved in its development. However, for some this may be an advantage for doctors who do not wish to take on the burden of managing staff.

Overall, the main difference between a salaried and a partnership position is the liability you take on and the amount of involvement you’re able to take in the practice. The appeal of a partnership position for most GPs is the part ownership, which allows you a say in how it’s run.

Further information:

Transition from Trainee to GP

Negotiating a partnership agreement

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