There are many advantages to being employed compared to being a locum or a GP Principal. Being salaried provides a more stable income than locuming with added benefits including paid annual leave, sick leave and study leave. There is less responsibility, bureaucracy, and politics compared to being a GP Principal, hence salaried income is less. For some, the attraction is doing just clinical work i.e. treating patients, which is what we do best.
Disadvantages of being salaried include less control of how the practice is run and the risk of being exploited. Some fall for the trap of the dangled carrot of 'salaried with a view to partnership' and end up doing the job of a partner while receiving salaried pay indefinitely. It's essential to be absolutely clear about the differences between being salaried and being a partner by having a robust contract.
Before signing on the dotted line it is worth going through and understanding the model salaried GP contract. Contrary to popular belief, the model contract is NOT a guide for practices to pick and choose which bits they want to include, it provides the minimum terms and conditions that must be offered to a salaried GP employed by a GMS practice as defined in GMS Contracts Regulations. GMS Practices can alter the model contract so long as the overall contract offered is no less favourable than the model. Some contentious areas which need to be clarified:
The job plan including hours of work
Whether the job plan includes on call cover
Full time is 37.5hrs per week which includes 4hrs CPD (study) entitlement
Whether CPD time is truly protected
If the salaried GP is expected to do private reports in their own time whether they will be paid the private fee
Definition of Continuous NHS service for the purpose of maternity and sick leave allowances includes all previous NHS hospital and locum work
If salaried with a view to partnership whether there is a fixed term for review when the decision will be made on proceeding to partnership
The model contract also applies for GP retainers and salaried GPs employed by the Health Board. If you are a BMA member, details on where you stand on these issues can be found in the Salaried GP handbook which can be downloaded from the BMA website