The definition of the four sessions

Many users have asked what the start and end times are of the 4 sessions we structure days with in the system.

We do not attempt to define exactly what is meant by a morning, afternoon, evening or overnight session. There is a very good reason for this: It would render the system almost unusable. Imagine if we tried to force every doctor to use a strict day structure that we have defined. Imagine if we tried to force every Practice to conform to our shift structure.

Instead, the four-parts-to-a-day structure we create is there to provide a framework onto which both parties can overlay their own precise meaning, during the Request/booking process and subsequent negotiation.

We feel that, both doctors and practices need to have the freedom to define their needs and negotiate with flexible start and end times.

How GPnetworks handles the processes and communication behind the Request and bookings

GPnetworks has developed a system that successfully automates the processes behind requesting and booking locum cover.

The system mimics the real-world negotiation involved between employer and GP and uses email notifications and reminders to drive any process started by an account holder, forward to a conclusion

The Request details:

Requests are comprised of the following things (provided by employers when making requests):

  • Date of session
  • Specific start and end times
  • Location
  • Contact details
  • Option notes:
  • Optional rate offered:

The process:

1. Practice sees a GPs sessional availability that matches their need

2. Practice makes a Request to the GP for the session in question

3. The system creates a Request in the Practices Schedule, changes the status of the GPs session in their calendar to blue, to show there is a Request the session and sends the GP an email notification containing all the details of the Request.

4. The GP logs into their account and accepts or declines the Request using features provided in the Request details box within their calendar.

5. The system sends an email notification to the Practices and alters the color of the Request in both parties calendar, accordingly, to show the changed status.

6. If a GP accepted the Request, the Practice can then Confirm or cancel the Request within their Schedule screen.

7. This alters the color of the Request in both parties calendar and sends both parties an email notification.

The four sessions that comprise a day in your Calendar

The GP Availability calendar and the Practices corresponding calendar interface shows each day as broken down into 4 separate sessions.

  • Morning
  • Afternoon
  • Evening
  • Overnight

These are not strict start and end times, rather they are a rough segmentation of days, designed to offer a starting point for the GP’s to use to advertise their availability.

We understand that sessional availability cannot always start and end at the same time and, likewise, a Practices requirements will not begin and end at the same point each day of the year.

For this reason, we cannot offer strict start and end points to the 4 sessions.

In order that GP’s and Practices can make full use of the sessional availability system, there are 2 additional things that are most useful.

1. For GPs
Each GP can write a custom message to Practices within their account. This is where each GP can specify their own exact start and end points for sessions, should they wish to.

2. For Practices
When using the built-in Request and Booking feature, each employer has to specify the start and end points of the session they are requesting cover for. This information is then sent to the GP in their notification email and saved with the Request details, in the GP’s calendar.

It is the combination of our loosely segmented days, with the two extra items above, that creates accurate and useful information for both parties.

An overview for Practices

Apart from looking in the Master Calendar for available locums and calling or emailing them, how do the more advanced aspects of the system work, in order to help Practices find locums quickly and easily?

Here is an overview of the process:

In the Availability screen the system will allow you to:

  • View all combined GP sessional availability in a single calendar
  • Click and GP to view their full availability and contact details
  • Create as many session Requests as you like with just a few clicks
  • Requests and their subsequent responses are automatically added into your Schedule screen
  • The Schedule allows you to view & maintain all Requests made, including decline & confirm

The system will handle the processes of notification and reminders between your practice and the GP(s) until Request are resolved

* you can add notes to requirements, start and end times, pay rates, etc

Connecting Primary Care

Since 2003, GPNetworks has provided a sessional GP availability service for Primary Care practices. The online service is commissioned by PCTs and practices across the South East. It is free to use for Sessional (locum) GPs and UK practices

GPNetworks has been designed to help practices find sessional GPs quickly and easily. This is done through our simple-to-use on-line availability system.

For an overview and some screenshots, click here.

Other functions within the site are:
– Contact details of General Practitioners
– A feedback system for General Practitioners who have worked for you
– Educational courses and online learning material supplied by Self online
– Online CVs and Skills list including computer systems

If you are a GP, you can sign up here. You will then be given an on-line personal availability calendar in which you publish the sessions you are available to work, input your skills and contact details, choose the distance you are willing to travel. You can even manage which practices can see your availability.

If you are a practice GPnetworks can offer you FREE limited use of our system. Please click here to sign up. You can upgrade to unlimited use at any time by paying a small annual fee.

The secure and confidential system simply provides practices with up-to-date availability, skills and contact details.

GPNetworks is functioning across Brighton & Hove, Mid Sussex, Hastings & St Leonards, Bexhill & Rother, Adur, Arun & Worthing, Sussex, Downs & Weald, Horsham & Chanctonbury and Wandsworth PCTs.

We work with Primary Care Support Services, and Self-online.

If you are a GP or a practice and would to like more information, please contact us at

Principal Team

Dr Jonathan Serjeant MRCGP DFFP MBBS
Company Director
Sessional General Practitioner
Clinical Lead Unscheduled Care Brighton and Hove PCT

Joe Aliferis BSc [Hons]
Company Director
Managing Director of Newforms, a Brighton based I.T Consultancy

Dr Selma Stafford MRCGP DFFP DRCOG MBchB
Company Secretary
Non-Principal General Practitioner
Clinical Practice Facilitator