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Br J Gen Pract. 1999 Jul; 49(444): 519–521.
PMCID: PMC1313468

Locum doctors in general practice: motivation and experiences.


BACKGROUND: There is evidence of dissatisfaction with locum doctors' performance, but little is known about doctors who work as locums in general practice or about their experiences of this work. AIM: To describe the motivations and experiences of doctors providing locum cover in general practices. METHOD: A postal questionnaire survey distributed to locums through organizations such as locum groups, commercial agencies, and general practices. RESULTS: Questionnaires were returned by 111 doctors currently working as locums in general practice. Four main reasons for working as a locum GP were: as a short-term option while between posts, to gain experience of different practices before commitment to one practice, to balance work and family or other commitments, to continue part-time work after retirement. One-quarter of responders intended to continue working as a locum indefinitely. The drawbacks of locum work included frustration with low status, lack of security, and difficulty accessing structured training and education. CONCLUSION: Locum doctors in general practice are a heterogeneous group that includes those who have chosen this type of work. The doctors who intend to continue as locums indefinitely represent a useful resource in primary care whose ability to provide short-term cover could be maximized. The need to control the quality of 'freelance' doctors should not overshadow the need to control the quality of their working environments.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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