Frequency of out-of-hours sessions: What can I expect?
GPs are attracted to working out of hours sessions for many different reasons, but perhaps the most common is the flexibility offered by working on an ad hoc basis. This means you can take as much or as little extra work as you like to supplement your regular contracted hours or to allow you to fit work around other commitments such as child care.
Many GPs considering out of hours work are concerned about exactly how many sessions and how often they will be expected to work. Although we take a very flexible approach to scheduling with our team members, we thought it might be useful to share some information gathered from a recent independent survey of our GPs about how frequently our GPs work with us.
How often GPs do a session with EBPC
The GPs who responded to the survey completed out-of-hours sessions anywhere from as often as 2-3 times a week to less than once a month. This shows the range of available working patterns – we really do aim to help you take on as little or as much work as you are willing and able to.
The most common frequency of sessions was two per week, with 21% of our GPs working this often. The next most common was “monthly” as selected by 19% of respondents. Nearly 10% worked with us less than monthly and just under 18% took three or more sessions a week.
Overall, the frequency of sessions taken by our GPs was pretty evenly spread across the range, showing that there is no “typical” frequency. We will work with whatever suits you to provide the work you need and an appropriate level of cover for our patients.
Working out how many out of hours sessions you are working
It is often necessary to work out the average number of sessions you work per week, for example for indemnity purposes. MDU provide a handy guide to working out the average number of sessions you work per week which can be helpful.
This can be problematic, however, for GPs working out-of-hours, especially if the number of hours you work varies considerably from week to week. In these instances, it may be better to look at indemnity cover which is not based on the number of sessions you work.
Alternatively, you may need to keep a running total of how many sessions you have worked so far in any given month, so you can make sure you do not go over the limit allowed by your current plan.
It’s also important to make sure you are not working so many hours that you end up compromising patient safety. A recent survey suggested that more than a quarter of GPs are working more than the maximum recommended number of hours each week needed to ensure patient safety.
Find GP out of hours sessions that work for you
East Berkshire Primary Care (EBPC) Out of Hours Service is a non-profit social enterprise. We supply NHS services for East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups covering Bracknell Forest, Slough, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead. Our services include urgent out of hours medical care providing a range of opportunities for GPs.
Our aim is to provide exceptional care to the patients we serve and a supportive, flexible working environment for the GPs who work with us. Our doctors can choose to work when they like and as often as they like, allowing them to achieve a better work-life balance.
Many of our GPs have worked with us for years, with the results of our recent survey helping to demonstrate why our out of hours sessions are so popular with doctors. We are particularly proud to have achieved over 95% approval for the level of support offered by EBPC management, with more than 98% of our GPs stating that they feel able to offer a safe service to patients. These statistics show just why EBPC is such a popular place to work.