How to safely engage the services of a GP locum

  • Safety

GP locums form a vital part of the GP workforce – it is important that they are made welcome and can work safely at your practice.

This guidance sets out the steps a practice should ideally take to ensure that the services of GP locums are safely engaged (in accordance with Health and Social Care Act 2008 [Regulated Activities] Regulations 2014 [Regulation 19]), which in turn should make them happy to provide ongoing sessions.

Pre-engagement check list for practices

Whether you contract with a GP locum directly or through a locum agency, it remains your responsibility to ensure that the necessary checks have been undertaken (please refer to the checklist that starts on page 2).

It is important that this documentation is not only checked, but that it is also accessible by you should you be asked to provide it as evidence during a CQC inspection (please refer to the link below below)

CQC – GP mythbuster 50 : GP locums

Whether contracting with a locum directly or via an agency, you should inform them at the time of booking their session(s) what documentation you require before they start. This should be sent to you in advance of their start date, so that you can ensure everything is complete. Any verification (for example – passport ID) can be done on the start day.

Pre-session visit

You may also wish to consider if they are a new locum to the practice, whether a pre-session visit to the practice might be helpful. This is a good opportunity for them to meet the staff, navigate the building and for you to answer any questions they have.

If it is not logistically viable to do this, it is always helpful to suggest that they arrive in good time for their session so that you can check their documents, ensure their login details work correctly, that the IT (printers etc) are working and that they can familiarise themselves with your locum pack.

Pre-engagement checklist

Our pre-engagement checklist can be downloaded as a Word document for you to fill out ahead of your locum’s first session. It covers:

  • GP registration and performer details.
  • Recruitment details, including where proof is required.
  • Training certification.
  • Immunisations.
  • Practice policies.

Practical matters and information to be agreed/provided at or around the session/s are agreed

  • The practice address (consider providing key transport links if relevant).
  • Details of parking facilities at the practice (and any parking restrictions) – provide a parking permit (if applicable)
  • The direct contact number for the practice (that bypasses the main surgery number).
  • The start and finish time/s (including the time that is allocated for clinical administration).
  • The payment rate for the session/s (including payment for any additional work that may be undertaken [for example home visits etc]).
  • The clinical requirements (for example – will the GP locum be expected to undertake home visits, sign repeat prescriptions? etc).
  • Offer a pre-session visit to the practice (see page 1).
  • Provide the GP locum with a copy of the locum pack (see below for guidance re the content of the locum pack) or share a link to it.

Before the GP locum arrives in the consulting room

Practices should make sure that:

  • The consulting room is clean, tidy and clutter free.
  • The consulting room is fully stocked (for example – with blood bottles, sharps bins etc).
  • Any drawers and cupboards are labelled.
  • Any relevant equipment (for example – a Dictaphone, a sphygmomanometer, an ophthalmoscope etc) is available.
  • There is somewhere for the GP locum to safely store their valuables.
  • The printer is in working order.
  • The panic button is in working order.
  • There is a telephone list with extension numbers and a quick reference guide (including important contact numbers such as the local safeguarding contacts).
  • The fire evacuation guidance is clearly visible. 

Steps to take when the GP locum arrives

 Make sure that the relevant staff are aware that the GP locum is coming in order that they can make them welcome and appoint a relevant staff member to orientate them as set out below.

The consulting room.

  • Show the GP locum to their consulting room and highlight the relevant equipment, valuables storage, panic button, telephone list and fire evacuation guidance (as set out above).
  • If possible, add a (temporary) name plate to their consulting room door.

The locum pack

  • Check that the GP locum has received and read the locum pack (see below for guidance re the content of the locum pack) – provide a copy of the locum pack (or a link to it) if necessary.


  • Familiarise the GP locum with the fire exits, toilets and kitchen facilities.
  • Familiarise the GP locum with the location of the defibrillator and emergency drugs/equipment.
  • Provide the GP locum with swipe cards/codes for any swipe card/keypad accessible areas.
  • Make sure that the GP locum is familiar with the fire evacuation procedures and provide an indication as to whether any routine fire alarm testing is expected.


  • Ensure that the GP locum’s smartcard works.
  • Make sure that the GP locum is able to login to any additional software that is relevant to their role.
  • Ensure that the GP locum is familiar with your IT system (for example – do they know how to deal with and record eConsults, face-to-face appointments, telephone consultations and generate prescriptions?).

The practice team.

  • Introduce the GP locum to relevant members of staff (for example – the duty doctor, the GP partner/s, reception staff, the secretaries etc.
  • Cover who is available to chaperone (and how they can be contacted).
  • Explain who is available for administrative/secretarial support (and how they can be contacted).
  • Explain who is available for clinical support (and how they can be contacted).

Community services & local hospital

  • Ensure that the GP locum is familiar with local referral policies and procedures (or at least is aware that this information is included in the locum pack, see below for guidance re the content of the locum pack).

What to include in the locum pack:

  • An introduction – you might wish to provide a note of welcome and a brief overview as to the history, make-up, demographics and geography of the practice.
  • A who’s who? of the practice team.
  • The location of and details of parking facilities at the practice (and any parking restrictions)
  • Telephone numbers – for example internal extensions, important external numbers and how to obtain an outside line.
  • An indication as to who to contact in particular circumstances (for example in relation to administrative, secretarial or clinical support).
  • Referral forms to local services (including fast track services and two-week wait referrals) together with any associated procedures or policies.
  • How to organise investigations (routine and urgent).
    • Within the practice (for example – blood tests, ECGs, spirometry etc).
    • Outside the practice (for example – x-rays, ultrasounds etc).
  • Services that are available within the practice (for example – counselling, IUDs, depo contraception, implants, minor surgery, smoking cessation, midwifery, chiropody, physiotherapy, district nurse, health visiting etc) and how to access them.
  • Local community or hospital services which are particular to your area and how to access them.
  • Practice procedures/protocols, which could include but may not be limited to:
    • Repeat prescribing.
    • Appointment booking.
    • Internal messaging.
    • Significant event reporting and analysis.
    • Adult and child safeguarding.
    • Infection prevention and control.
    • Management of clinical emergencies.

It is important that the locum pack is:

  • Easily accessible (consider having both electronic and hard copy versions).
  • Regularly reviewed to ensure that its content is up to date (you could also ask your GP locums for feedback as to how the locum pack could be improved and you might wish to construct a questionnaire for this purpose).