We love to scour the social-mediasphere for titbits and came across this tweet from @Pickletray – a Twitterer with lots to say about GP issues.

Will your locum insurance cover your weekends? Thought not. Another reason why GP partners will soon be extinct. #gpnewdeal #GPNoDeal

What Pickletray is probably getting at is the GPs who will be offered a ‘new deal’ for adopting 7–day working. Will their locum insurance cover them for weekend working?

Let’s look at this from two angles.

Are you covered for weekend working?

If the NHS makes you work weekends and you fall ill, you may wonder if your locum insurance will fork out to pay someone to cover your weekend sessions.

With locum insurance from Practice Cover we don't make a distinction between the days worked. In short, weekends don’t matter, so if you’re a GP who works weekends then this will have no impact on your locum insurance.

Is your cover enough for weekend working?

If you take on weekend working, you may worry that the sum insured is not enough to cover you for weekend working because when you organised it you were only working during the week.

The truth is that locum costs can be higher at weekends, and so this isan issue which will affect lots of GPs. Hence even if you do the same hours, the weekend cover element for a locum could cost you more.

You’ll probably find that weekend rates are charged from 8pm Friday to 8am on the following Monday. And don’t forget about Bank Holiday rates, which you may not have factored in to your policy.

With our locum insurance you determine your preferred deferred period and amount of cover required, depending on your attitude to risk and budget. So if you see weekend locum cover as a risk, then you can increase your amount of cover accordingly.

Here’s the maths. Assume a locum’s rate of pay at the weekend is 20% higher – and they cover one of your five 8-hour shifts at the weekend. You may want to increase your cover by 4%. If they cover 2 weekend shifts, then increase cover by 8%. 

You’ll see that, on the whole, these are modest increases in cover required.

In truth, a proportion of our clients take out locum insurance with no desire to pay for a locum with the cash. This can instead be used to provide bonuses to partners who cover their shifts, set off against practice overheads or just keep in the bank for a rainy day.

Of course if and when 7-day working becomes a norm, then the locum industry may need to look at weekend rates of pay and more closely align them to mid-week rates.

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

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