Know your rights

GPs: getting the best out of your contract throughout your career

Location: UK
Published: Wednesday 6 December 2023
Male GP At Desk

Negotiating your contact of employment can seem, daunting whether you are newly qualified GP or an experienced GP. We are launching our ‘Know your rights’ campaign to support you and promote a better understanding of your entitlements, hopefully helping you to navigate your way through contract negotiations at the start, and for the duration, of your career as a salaried GP.


Check your contract

We have a nationally agreed benchmark for GP employment terms. Both GMS and PMS practices are contractually required to use this salaried model contract when employing salaried GP and any deviations from this contract should be on terms ‘no less favourable’. What this means is that where an entitlement is changed for example, annual leave, it should be to something as good or better. For example, replacing 4 weekly hours pro-rata CPD with 3 weeks study leave to most will be an unfavourable change. Ultimately this is down to you to decide as the employee.

For this reason, it is always better to start from a position of asking to be employed on the original BMA model contract unaltered and always checking what you are offered with the contract checking service.

Most contracts checked by the BMA mirror the model contract however a substantial proportion do not.

Our eagle-eyed team in the contract checking service have picked up on a few so called “tweaks” to contracts which might otherwise have gone unnoticed by BMA members.



Locum GPs, the Locum Practice Agreement serves as a comprehensive framework designed for locum GPs undertaking work with GP practices. We highly recommend its use for all future engagements, with a suggestion for regular reviews. This agreement provides a robust foundation for establishing terms and conditions, including a detailed work schedule, for each engagement with practices.


Your job plan

As well as defining your employment benefit entitlements the contract also defines your total hours of work, your salary for those hours and the need for an agreed job plan. This  outlines the work you are expected to undertake within those hours.

Last year our survey of sessional GPs revealed that salaried GPs were, on average, working 25% above their contracted hours unpaid. In addition to our existing job planning guidance and the salaried GP handbook, the Sessional GPs committee recently published our workload control guidance.

This guidance will better enable salaried GPs to achieve safe, manageable and sustainable workloads and job plans, to ensure the boundaries of their contracted hours are honoured and that any agreed overtime that is worked is appropriately remunerated, as a minimum, in line with our salaried GP rate card

Alongside this guidance, in January 2024, we are planning to launch our GP diary app. The app will allow you to easily record all of the work you undertake day to day and provide you with useful data and reports to help support necessary discussions with your employer when reviewing your job plan, which should happen at least annually.

We hope by highlighting your rights we can empower and support all salaried GPs to achieve safe, manageable and sustainable workloads, so you can focus on enjoying the rewarding work of a sessional GP.