Frequently Asked Questions

For practices

How much do I pay to use Pallant Medical Chambers?

You don't pay Pallant Medical Chambers anything - the Pallanteers pay for the service they receive, so practices don't have to. You only pay the GP for the session booked, which is priced by chambers to be competitive in the market place.

Can I request a specific GP?

Yes, if you know the GP you would prefer to book, please specify and we will book them for you if they are available. But we will always offer you an alternative if your preferred GP is already booked.

Can I prioritise GPs we would be most happy to book and those we would rather not book?

Yes. Our booking system can hold information about your preferred GP and also a GP you would rather not book, although in the latter case we always notify our members if a practice does not wish to book, so that they can use this feedback to make any reparations and reduce the chances of the same shortcomings causing issues elsewhere.

How can I book a Pallanteer GP?

Simple! Send us an email with your requirements, and we will be able to offer and confirm a GP by return. We favour email requests in order to have a 'paper trail' for all bookings - from enquiry to confirmation - to eliminate mistakes. If you'd rather speak to a chambers manager, please do call them on 033 0088 3793.

How flexible are Pallanteers?

Our Pallanteers will endeavour to accommodate your requirements subject to their other commitments that day. Examples of this could be swapping a visit for 3 patients, or 3 telephone calls or additional paperwork. The Pallanteer might also be available to extend a short session to a longer session if they have time. If you have any special requests, please make it clear in your initial request so the GP comes prepared for all eventualities.

Can I book long term locum cover?

Yes, whether you have a GP off sick, on maternity or on a sabbatical, we will endeavour to offer continuity of GP cover for your long term requirements.

Can I make a 'last minute' booking for today or tomorrow?

Provided there is a GP available, we will be able to get a GP to you at late notice. Call us or email between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday for availability.

How often will Pallant Medical Chambers invoice me?

We invoice on behalf of our GPs once a month. On the first working day of the month, we will supply you with a clearly formatted invoice for every member who has worked at your practice the previous month, together with a corresponding typed LocumA form. Payment is made direct to the GP, increasingly via BACS. The practice also pays a percentage of the invoice to the GP towards their pension contribution. There are no other extras, and all rates are fully inclusive.

Can I rely on a Pallanteer to turn up for their booked session?

It goes without saying that as a GP, Pallanteers are compelled to provide the best service to your patients, and we can assure you that our internal communication is excellent. Every session is confirmed by email, not only to you but also to the locum GP. And the booking is automatically entered in their personal diary, complete with all session details and useful information about your practice. If you have made a 'last minute' booking, we will always text or speak to the doctor concerned to confirm they are aware of the booking.

Can I book a Pallanteer privately for locum work?

No. Pallanteers perform all their locum work through their chambers and have already consented to make themselves available for work through Pallant Medical Chambers for all their freelance sessions. Pallanteers commit to working exclusively for Pallant to avoid 'falling foul' of a requirement under the Office of Fair Trading's rules (set in 2003) about operating as a cartel which protects you, the practices from any confusion on the market.

When can I speak to someone in your office about a booking?

Our managers are on duty from 8am to 6pm, Monday-Friday, and will be happy to help with your booking requirements. If you have a Pallanteer booked outside of these hours (eg Saturday morning or extended hours) we will always request that you provide us with a contact number for your practice that we can pass on to them.

How do I contact my Pallanteer out of office hours?

If you have a Pallanteer booked outside our office hours (8am-6pm Mon-Fri) or have one booked to cover on-call, we will provide you with their mobile number. We will also request that you provide us with an out-of-hours contact number for your practice that we can pass on to our Pallanteer.

How long does it take to confirm a Pallanteer GP is available to book?

Our bookings managers have live access to all Pallanteers' calendars so are able to confirm a booking instantly.

Do you provide all the Pallanteer GPs documents?

Yes, we will supply all the GPs documents the first time you book the Pallanteer, and will send you updates when they are renewed. You can book your locum with confidence that references have been checked by their chambers lead before the GP has been recommended to chambers and all the legal and regulatory checks have been completed by our managers.

How can you guarantee a high quality locum GP?

All Pallanteers have been selected through interview process, and have supporting references and up-to-date documents. Pallanteers are supported by a dedicated team of chambers managers, who organise their workload and deal with all the administrative tasks of being a locum and this leaves them free to concentrate on doing what they do best - care for patients. We do everything we can to ensure Pallanteers are updated with the latest clinical information, and they are kept informed of local educational and training events as well as having specific educational events organised for them on request. Pallanteers meet and support each other regularly under the guidance of a chambers lead to discuss clinical cases and to review their performance and any feedback or significant events; in this way we continually improve the service we offer practices and patients.

How do I decide what session to book?

We have a set of very easy-to-understand set of session structures which give you a wide range of choice and flexibility. We have found having these structures keep session-overrunning to a minimum, and you get the best value out of the time our Pallanteers spend with you. For a comprehensive list of session types follow this link and if you'd like further explanation, please contact our chambers managers, who will be happy to help.

How often do Pallanteers meet?

Chambers meetings are held ten times a year, and are organised by the chambers leads. These tend to alternate between educational meetings and clinical governance meetings, discussing clinical significant events, interesting cases and learning points, and any performance issues as well as any managerial/administration issues.

How will our patients identify your locum GPs?

Every Pallanteer is equipped with professional, patient-friendly, laminated GP profiles, as well as name badges and door plates. This hopefully reassures your patients that they are seeing a proper, fully-qualified GP who is not "just a locum".

What about my practice's QoF points?

Pallanteers will do their best to help you earn QoF points and correctly Read code all their consultations.

What do we need to provide a Pallanteer GP who works at our practice?

We request that each Pallanteer is issued with a unique, secure computer username and password and are provided with a properly equipped consulting room. Oh - and a cup of coffee! We will discuss more general information with you so that we can make notes about what clinical IT system you use and parking restrictions etc so we can pass them on to our Pallanteers. Please also make sure they can access your practice's Standardised practice Information Portal.

What happens if the Pallanteer I have booked is sick?

We will always do our best to replace a sick Pallanteer with a colleague on 'standby', so you have a GP on site before the first patient turns up.

What procedures do you have for dealing with complaints?

We have bespoke systems to deal with any feedback - whether it is a complaint about a Pallanteer's performance, an administrative error, or if you simply want to give some constructive feedback. Simply tell one of our chambers managers, who will instigate a report that will be appropriately circulated and discussed (depending on the confidential nature of the complaint). We will take a collaborative approach to rectify any issues and learn from the event. If the complaint is a clinical one discussions will involve the Pallanteer, their chambers lead and one of our experienced clinical directors.

For GPs

As a Pallanteer, am I self-employed?

Yes – you’ll still be able to contribute to the NHS pension scheme and you are liable for your own tax and national insurance. The chambers managers facilitate all your bookings and bill the practices on your behalf; the practice writes the payment out in your name and either pays the full amount direct to you your bank account, or we’ll pay the cheque into your account for you.

What is a chambers lead?

This is a member of your local chambers who acts as your clinical governance lead. Their role includes interviewing new applicants, chairing monthly meetings and managing significant events. They receive a reduction in their chamber’s fees which equates for an honorarium for this work. If you’re interested in being, or even sharing, the chamber’s lead role then let us know.

Who selects the members to our chambers?

This becomes the responsibility of the new chambers, under the direction of the chamber’s lead. Potential members apply via the Pallant Medical website, and we advise you whether we believe there is enough work coming into the chambers to sustain a new member. The chambers lead will arrange a time to interview the new applicant and our managers will arrange for their references etc and take it from there.

Can I develop my career as a GP within Pallant Medical Chambers?

Yes, Pallant Medical Chambers take every opportunity to help you progress professionally. As a freelance GP you have the flexibility and time to develop specialist areas of interest. Also within Pallant Medical Chambers we support a range of lead posts including mentoring, teaching and taking on audit projects.

How can you help me improve my clinical governance?

There is a comprehensive system of feedback between Pallanteers and patients, practices and specialists. All feedback is handled sensitively and confidentially in the most productive way possible to ensure positive outcomes that benefit both the patient and the clinician concerned.

How do I advertise my availability to practices?

We do it for you. You are responsible for updating the Pallant calendar we allocate to you when you join, and we then advertise your availability to practices.

How is the Employer Contribution for the GPs pension calculated?

As Pallanteers are self-employed, from April 2013 the practice is now the locum GP's Employing Authority and is now liable to pay the 14.3% Employer Contribution. It is calculated on 90% of the session fees and added to the invoice. We then advise Pallanteers of this extra sum of money that they add to their monthly pension payments to the NHS pension fund.

What does it cost to be a Pallanteer?

Pallant Medical Chambers charges each member a management fee. The sheer efficiency of the chambers will ultimately lead to an increase in the number of sessions you’ll be booked for, and you will no longer have to spend time on administration and could choose to work more sessions with this freed-up time. The fee is fully tax deductible as you are self-employed. We can discuss details of our fee structures with you.

What happens regarding a Pallanteers' medical indemnity?

Pallant Medical Chambers is is considered a 'virtual practice' by the MPS, so Pallanteers benefit from their Practice Xtra scheme, so with them you’ll pay 10% less.

What if I already have work booked?

That's no problem. We will honour all your existing bookings at the rates you have independently agreed. We will place all your existing bookings in our booking system and - for no charge - we’ll do your billing and invoicing for these bookings. We actively encourage this as it allows us to build up relationships very quickly with practices near you. Going forward however, these practices will have to book you through Pallant Medical Chambers at your chambers' rates.

What would the chambers managers do for me?

Dedicated Pallant managers organise your workload and tend to the administrative duties of being a locum GP, such as invoicing and helping to collate information for your appraisal and revalidation. They also assist in advising you of and organising educational and training opportunities. And keep you up-to-date with the latest clinical information.

New chambers

Working with GP federations and CCGs

How do I get a chambers going in a new area?

Once there is a small core group, ideally 5 GPs who want to commit to working as a Pallant Medical Chambers, one of our clinical directors and one of our chambers managers will come to your area and go through all that’s needed to set you up. We’ll collate information about the new members and the new chambers and rates so you have some 'Marketing Packs' to introduce your current practices to the Pallant way of doing things. We’ll get your existing bookings onto our bespoke booking system and - for no fee - we’ll take over all the billing/banking of your existing bookings for you.

How many GPs do we need to start a chambers?

Ideally 5 or more; starting as a small group you’ll be able to start chambers meetings and educational meetings and you will be able to offer practices reasonable availability between you. However, we would consider setting up with just one GP (and have done with members who have moved to a new area from an existing chambers), but in these circumstances a single-Pallanteer chambers would 'buddy' with an adjacent chambers until more GPs have been recruited.

How soon can we get a new chambers started?

That depends on you – if you’ve already got a core group of potential members, ideally some doctors who are already locuming locally, we can start within a week or so of getting all your details onto the system. We’ll work with you to make sure we’ve got a good database of practices to begin working with.

Why should I consider establishing a new Pallant Medical Chambers?

You can benefit from working as part of a growing network of chambers and from our experience and expertise, using the systems we have developed without having to invest the significant amount of time, energy and money that is needed to set up a successful chambers on your own.

Will Pallant Medical Chambers help me set up an independent chambers in my area?

We would always recommend establishing Pallant Medical Chambers in a new area as a first option, but if there are particular reasons which require an independent approach we may be able to offer an established group of GPs assistance with administration support and other management tasks. Please get in touch to discuss this further.

Will we feel part of the team if we set up a ‘satellite’ chambers?

Yes, we would work closely with you and visit as often as necessary to make the transition as smooth as possible. We would launch with a press release in your area and make contact with all the practices you currently work at to reassure them. We would explain the relationship between you and Pallant Medical Chambers and the services offered and spell out the advantages to them; and if necessary a chambers manager will be available to make visits to practices with yourselves.