It’s that time of year again, August. The death month ,when it’s the merry go round of doctors rotating, is as enshrined in medical culture as it is notorious for patients. Medical alumni get their first bleep and are excited by it. Junior doctors rotate into new specialities, careers in speciality jobs are born and its time for everybody to move on to pastures new. This of course means there are hundreds of newly qualified GPs, the majority practicing as locums. Some might describe it as embracing new challenges, getting to use their newly perfected skills of sharing management options, responding to cues; fresh faced and eager they arrive on the locum scene
Yes some might describe it as that, but the reality most of them are bricking it! The cosy and coveted role of being a GP trainee, having regular income, sick leave, holiday pay and a regular place of work, all protected by training guidelines and standards is replaced by the grim and slightly less comfortable world of being a GP locum
In one day it is off with the water wings, there’s no more stabilisers and out of nappies! It’s a time when these fresh faced and innocent hot shots suddenly find out all about being a locum.
Of course its an annual cycle and we have all been through it at some point. For those of us who are established locums there always a slight dip in demand for work – the combination of a flooded marketplace and all the partners returning from their holidays. For most newbies being a locum is a stop gap – something to pay the bills and a way of expanding their abilities and skills before they take the plunge (or retreat) into the depths (or safer waters) of taking a more secure role. The marketplace product becomes the consumer.
By Christmas the numbers of locums will have dwindled markedly and by next summer practices will be desperate again, taking the scraps from the diaries to manufacture a patchwork quilt of holiday cover
I would heartily recommend taking a holiday in august – and not getting sick