How can GPnetworks be improved in 2011?

This discussion is a sibling to an earlier discussion about the development of a specific feature inside GPaccounts.

The ideas raised in that earlier discussion are:

  • Allow a ‘switch’ within the GP Surgery screen to control if Practices can see a GPs availability outside their Work Radius (but do not show Practices how far a GP is from their location).
  • Add an attribute to Practice accounts: Parking space available? [yes | no]
  • Bring back the multiple session Requesting/booking feature for Practices (this was removed because it was under used)
  • Re-order the Inbox to show non-confirmed items before confirmed items
  • Send reminders to GPs for Confirmed sessions the day before the session
  • Enriched doctor profiles – to include: GPs Ts&Cs, GPs interpretation of the 4 sessions and GP details of willingness to travel related to work details.

Please give us your thoughts and ideas below.. They will form the basis of the next release of the GPnetworks system.

A consultation with GPs on account features

Now that our PCT funding has come to an end, we have started to charge Practices a small annual subscription. This is designed to keep us in business and time will tell whether this strategy works for us.

However, in order to survive, we also need to think about how to grow.

As you may already know, there are no technical or logical boundaries to the coverage of our service. We would very much like to try and expand this coverage further afield, beginning with the South.

We can do this by offering Practices outside our network free pilot accounts, so that they might evaluate whether or not we offer a useful tool for them. However, we need these pilot accounts to show plenty of GP sessional availability and often they simply do not.

A solution:
At this time, we allow GPs to fully manage which Practices can view they sessional availability, skills and contact details, from within the Surgeries tab of their account. This has meant that GPs are only contacted by practices that they have agreed to be contacted by.

In order for us to grow, we need to make a change to the way things work, so that your Surgeries list becomes a way for you to control which practices can see your contact details.

This way, any practice could see your sessional availability and could send you a Request but only via our system, whilst only those you specify in your Surgeries list would be able to see your email address and phone number and contact you directly. We would ensure that practices can see how far away from them you are before creating a Request to you but, what this change may amount to, is that you may occasionally get Requests via our system for sessional cover that is outside of your specified work radius.

From another perspective, however, it may make a big difference in our attempt to expand our coverage beyond its current limits. Which would, in turn, mean that GPnetworks may eventually become as useful to GPs in North London as it is to you.

This is by no means a planned change, scheduled to take place. It is something we would like to try and a request to you to back us in our attempt to grow.

We welcome your feedback below

The GPnetworks Team

National registrars and new practitioners study day

The 14th National registrars and new practitioners study day

Wednesday 15 June 2011


A presentation from Claire Gerada at the RCGP on the future of general practice

A presentation from David Pendleton on clinical leadership.

Workshops on topics including accident and emergencies in general practice, skills required for commissioning and dealing with complaints.

    Download the official flyer below

      Registrars_day_flyer.pdf (483.2 KiB, 939 hits)


    Funding the GPnetworks service in 2011

    Many of you may already be aware that GPnetworks is no longer receiving PCT level funding and has had discussions with its members on how best to fund the service in future.

    Following on from the very useful Support Site discussion ‘A discussion about how to fund the GPnetworks service‘, and direct discussions with locum GP’s, Practice Managers and Principals, we have decided upon what we believe to be a simple and fair model for funding the GPnetworks service and plan to begin roll-out from the second week of April, 2011.

    Our new model has also taken into account forthcoming functional and structural changes to the service, that will be released at the same time. We will be offering practices two service level options and offering doctors a single improved service. All accounts will have a simple annual fee.

    The service level changes are:

    For doctors
    Doctors will be able to gain access to a greater range of employment opportunities via new employers and have opportunities to join the ‘trusted’ lists of employer accounts.

    For employers
    All employer accounts will offer new, improved scheduling tools connected to the Request/booking process.

    Doctor accounts: £free or £60 (join employer trusted doctor lists)
    Employer accounts: £120 per anum OR £240 per anum (Build trusted lists and use governance tools)

    Could a limited company be the right choice for locum doctors?

    by Crunch Accounting : Mel Dixon

    Many locum doctors in the UK work via NHS and locum agencies which handle their pay much like a direct employer would. However, there are other ways that locums or freelance GPs can go about finding work and getting paid for their services.

    The locum doctor can provide work under a variety of different guises, including limited company, sole trader or umbrella company. And of course, the aforementioned more direct route…

    NHS and locum agencies

    By providing services through an NHS or locum agency, health workers are taxed at source under normal PAYE rules. This is fine for many as they won’t have to do any accounting or tax preparation. On the downside, it’s not the most tax friendly way of working as a freelance doctor and you are restricted in the expenses you can claim.

    For healthcare professionals immigrating to the UK for the first time, it may be the preferred option as some agencies offer profession specific help and guidance.

    Limited company

    Running a limited company offers the biggest tax saving option and gives you the opportunity to be the director of your own company. For most people a limited set-up requires the services of an accountant unless you’re particularly sharp on tax filing procedures and day-to-day administration.

    The tax saving benefits stem from the ability to pay yourself the right combination of dividends and salary, thereby avoiding National Insurance Contributions.

    In the right hands, a limited company can be a simple way of doing business. Unfortunately, some accountants will leave you adrift in a sea of receipts, invoices, and documentation which you then have to gather up in an orderly fashion before sending it all over for them to sort out. However, if you have an accountancy service which keeps all your records safe and secure online whilst offering expert help and guidance, limited company life becomes incredibly simpler.

    Limited company accounts are a specialty at Crunch

    Sole trader

    The major advantage of being a sole trader is that it’s the simplest way of running your own company. You also get to claim expenses (like a limited company).

    The major disadvantage is that it’s not as tax efficient as a limited company – depending on how much you earn you could keeping a lot more of your pay with a limited company. As a sole trader you are liable for income tax and capital gains tax (which is a tax on selling or giving away assets such as property or vehicles).

    Umbrella companies

    Working freelance via an umbrella company is much like an agency set-up where the umbrella company sorts out your tax paying responsibilities, leaving you to simply hand in timesheets. They will naturally charge for the payroll service they provide, and it’s administered on a Pay As You Earn basis. So, it’s not tax efficient and yet still you have to pay for the privilege.

    For umbrella companies promising high amounts of take home pay, be very wary. From April 6, a key offshore loophole is being closed which is used by most of these services – read more about such arrangements on this link.


    There are a range of options for locum doctors in the UK, but without doubt the most rewarding is a limited company formation. At Crunch we provide qualified expert accountancy advice alongside our online software which enables you to automatically draw up invoices, easily record expenses and have a real-time snapshot of your incomings and outgoings – among many other capabilities. By keeping all your accounting needs in one place, life as a limited company director is surprisingly easy.

    Find out more about how Crunch works