Archive for ‘AiTs’

June 20, 2009

AiTs could do with training on how to locum


I had the pleasure of being flown up to Newcastle on Thursday to speak to a group of locums about the joys of working in Locum Support Teams such as locum chambers. While I was there, I spoke to a charming VTS course organiser on how much actual training her AiTs received on how to work independently as a peripatetic locum in a multitude of practices. As expected, she acknowledged that most would be spending months to years working as locums. As expected, her AiTs were receiving no such training.

Working as a locum in multiple practices is different to working regularly in the same place. Unfamiliar surroundings; patients are always new; the patient’s records are nearly alwyas difficult to penetrate (access, quality, vaguaries of IT systems etc); we don’t know about the other GPs, so ‘handover’ needs to be robust – there must be a ‘succession of record’.

As a fresh pair of eyes, we are ideally placed to highlight areas of risk in the practice; working as part of a team, we can be empowered to spread best practice between practices and PCTs. For patients, we can provide a second opinion, a new way of looking their illness.

Considering the overall gigure for the number of locums is 25% of the workforce, the likelihood is that there will be a bulge in numbers at the post-training end of the curve. There needs to be debate, recognition, change and progress.

June 5, 2009

The end of the AiT training is leaving it rather late to learn about locuming.


Have been speaking today to 80 or so GP Associates in Training (AiTs) – or ‘registrars’ as they used to be called – for the South East Thames Faculty of the RCGP on the invitation of James Heathcote. It was on the subject of how to get a job, so talks from the LMC, BMA as well as the RCGP. And I had the real pleasure of meeting Professor Deborah Saltman who gave a very buzzing talk on GP academia. What was striking to me was, despite effectively being on job creation schemes for at least a year, how they seemed to know rather little of the job market. When they are about to face some huge lifestyle choices, AiT training – much as it was when I trained – still seems to be in the Dark Ages, with training being very focused on finding a good ol’ fashioned partnership. And the minefield of salaried GP contracts was given some attention, but nevertheless will still require significant further independent research from each delegate. Anyway, I hope I got across my points about GP locuming being a fantastic career choice. But it leaves me wondering now how we can put pressure on those responsible for GP training to make careers advice les focused on partnerships and include instead practical advice and pragmatic help on working as a salaried GP and particularly GP locuming.


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