Becoming a GP locum: Invoicing and expenses

In an extract from MPS and the National Association for Sessional GPs (NASGP)’s ‘Becoming a GP locum’ NASGP chair Dr Richard Fieldhouse explains how to invoice for GP locum sessions and file expenses.

GP consulting with pregnant woman
(Photo: Getty Images)

Invoicing

Unlike a salaried GP, a GP locum needs to invoice the practice they work for after completing work. Systems like the NASGP’s LocumDeck prepare and send invoices automatically, including all the key information a practice needs:

  • Your name, address, phone number and email.
  • Your bank account details.
  • Your rate, and the rate for extras completed during the session.
  • Travel costs (if any).
  • How much pay is pensionable.
  • How much employer’s pension contribution is due.
  • Dates and times of sessions completed.
  • Date the invoice is sent and due.

The NASGP recommends that GPs do not invoice until after the work is complete, because, as suggested above, you may undertake work during the sessions that was not agreed or arranged in advance, like home visits (sometimes called an ‘extra’).You can file after one session, or after a week’s worth.

From experience we know practice managers prefer locum GPs to file paperwork monthly so we’d advise locums to invoice either as soon as work is done, or monthly. In the NASGP’s Locum Chambers, our administrator often finds out when the practice manager schedules their payment runs, and invoices well ahead of that deadline. If you can manage to find this out too, it’s a bonus for both your practice manager, and you.

Some GPs prepare, send, and record their invoices manually but others manage these processes automatically by using a booking system like LocumDeck.

Invoices should be paid within 30 days, and you can charge late fees after that. Chasing invoices can be time-consuming, and we’d always advise that GPs join chambers in order to delegate that work to an administrator.

Late fees

We’d advise every locum GP to be clear in their terms and conditions about how quickly they’d like to be paid. But despite clear terms, GPs might still find that they are not paid on time for work.

Most invoicing problems can be resolved by checking your invoice is clear and complete, sending a polite reminder by email (attaching the invoice in question), and following up by phone. If chasing the invoice doesn’t work, the NASGP website has advice about late fees and debt recovery.

Expenses

When you file a tax return, you always let HMRC know about the costs of your work, including:

  • How much it cost to set up your website.
  • The price of your union and NASGP membership.
  • Subscriptions to a booking system like LocumDeck.
  • The proportion of your phone bill spent on work calls.
  • Equipment you need to work, like a laptop.
  • A flat rate for working from home.
  • The cost of training.
  • Travel and parking during locum sessions and visits.

The expense of working self-employed is then deducted from your income, and the remainder is your ‘profit’.

Not every cost you incur can be deducted from your tax bill, which is yet another reason why a specialist medical accountant can provide valuable support for anyone new to self-employed work in the NHS.

This article first appeared as a chapter in MPS and NASGP’s ‘Becoming a GP locum’ by Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of NASGP.

Medical Protection is a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited. MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. NASGP is the independent membership body for general practice locums in the UK, founded by locums for locums.

You can read and download ‘Becoming a GP locum’ in its entirety at nasgp.org.uk/resource/becoming-a-gp-locum-free-pdf-download

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