Benefits of working in chambers
- Help with the administrative side such as bookings, (which is all done through a chambers managers which accesses individual member’s diaries), invoicing, completing superannuation forms and chasing payments.
- The chambers manager will ensure the engaging practice provide adequate induction and will deal with any issues of practices expecting additional unremunerated work over and above the agreed fee schedule.
- A set fee structure reduces the needs for negotiation over workload and fees and removes the stress of being pressurized to do more work than you can manage or have agreed.
- Provision of professional support though chambers educational and SEA meetings.
- Assistance from chambers manager in obtaining evidence for appraisal and revalidation (feedback, surveys and audits).
- Being seen as part of an organisation with an established reputation. Chambers recruit and interview new members which helps to set professionals standards.
- If you need to cancel due to an emergency, the chambers may often be able to arrange a substitution at short notice.
- You can still superannuate your locum income, as long as payments are still made directly to locums.
- Members can still choose not to work in certain practices.
- Some medical indemnity providers may offer a discounted rate to locums working as part of chambers (compared to those working freelance).
Disadvantages of working in chambers
- Members of chambers usually pay a set percentage of their income to the chambers (this can vary according to the chambers’ organisation, whether it is newly established or if the Locum GP may also carry out a lead role in the chambers).
- Setting up chambers requires time and energy by the founding members, unless they are set up as a satellite to an existing set of chambers.
- Members usually work to the same fee schedule (set number of patients for a set fee) so individuals who don’t like the set schedule may find this constricting.
- As a legal entity there may be legal challenges ahead (for example, it is unclear whether to operate as a “single undertaking” all individuals would have to be jointly liable for each other’s tax).
- Many chambers insist on exclusivity of locums, therefore restricting the ability to work outside the chambers. It is important to check the policy with the chambers before joining.