Today I'm going to cover the topic of issuing formal contracts to GPs and the discussions that come up around that and the issues that may be present when you are discussing contracts. Most GPs aren't really concerned about the contract but some are quite alarmed at why they would even have to sign one or feel quite restricted in the contract that are issued to them. And essentially it's in place to minimize the risk in the working arrangement between the GP and the practice. Typically in the contract the practice is looking for a couple of things from the incoming doctors and they're looking for a commitment to a certain duration, level of time that they would work with, say one to two years. They're looking for a reasonable notice period for when you are going to terminate the contract and, more commonly they are including a restraint of trade clause, possibly putting a five or 10 kilometre radius that you can't work in, once you leave their practice. In the other way the GP might be looking for things like details of pay and the frequency of pay, details of the additional benefits that are included, whether it be the payment, whether if you put your hand up to be a sort of a teacher or a mentor, whether you get additional incentives for that for example. Also details on the sessions and the rostering so if you couldn't quite work weekends make sure that that's included and what is mandatory and what could be mutually agreed in future.
By not having a contract in place it does put you, the GP, at risk sometimes of unfair dismissal or inconsistent payment cycles. It's really important that a fair contract is in place that does cover the GP and the practice. We do help negotiate the contracts for our GPs to make sure that their concerns are heard, and if reasonable, we'd be able to accommodate those clauses or restraints and come back with something that's more fair to cover the GP and the practice. What has your experience been? Have you come across a contract that you've had concerns about or some clauses that you were not able to resolve?