09 April

Practices Are Getting Applicants Again – That’s Great… Right?

Around November time, we started to note a shift in the market.

By Matthew Okey

We get calls from GPs looking for work every day, that’s been the case for years, but there was an uptick in the volume of calls we started getting. We noticed less requests from our clients for locum cover too, and the number of GPs on forums and Facebook groups posting their availability for all type of work increased as well. Something was happening, that’s for sure.

What this means in the long-term is still unknown, however, in the short-term it has resulted in practices receiving more interest in their adverts, with what might have been zero applicants a year ago now bringing in 2, 3 or even more GPs interested in the post. This can only be a good thing, you’d be forgiven for thinking, and don’t mistake my caution for scorn, but is all interest good interest?

The locum market is by no means dead – we’re still filling dozens of sessions a week of short and long-term cover – but there’s been a drop-off for sure, especially with the oversaturation of the locum market ie. the number of GPs looking for locum work. This drop off has led many of these GPs to seek out salaried posts to provide guaranteed income and we’ve seen plenty of stories in the news with the struggles faced by some of these GPs, even in finding permanent positions.

We’ve seen this before however, when the locum market vanished during the first lockdown. It was an incredibly uncertain time and practices didn’t know what was around the corner. The hatches were battened down and a collective breath was taken whilst we waited for what the Government would do and say next. During those frightening few months of 2020, there was a flood of locum GPs taking up salaried posts given the uncertainty around the job market.

The job market did recover though, and as lockdown was eased and patients returned to their practices in record numbers, the market didn’t just recover, it exploded. Many of the GPs whose locum work had dried up, who’d then taken up salaried posts, upped and went back to locumming. The practices they joined were back to square one, searching for new Salaried GPs.


With 2020 still fresh in the memory, it begs the question therefore around the suitability of those interested in your post, and why they’re interested. It is easy to forgive practices for their jubilation when received several applications for their vacancy, but three applicants doesn’t mean three suitable candidates – it never has, and now is no different.

Finding the ideal GPs for your salaried GP vacancy remains as hard as ever, and whereas before you might not have anyone to meet whatsoever, now you may find yourself meeting multiple GPs, many of whom are probably not what you’re looking for, and you’re probably not what they really want either. That takes up valuable amounts of your time, and we are told so often by Practices how there isn’t enough time in the day as it is. What’s the cash value of that time? And what happens if you can’t get any of these GPs to commit? Or they want to ‘try’ you out before they commit permanently, further pushing your timeline on having a salaried GP in post?

Too much choice can be as challenging as too little. It’s why the hundreds of practices we are supporting at any given time keep turning to us. Ask yourselves, would you rather have two highly suitable candidates, who tick your boxes, want to join you, and can work the days you need covering? Or would you rather have five or six candidates, whose criteria could be the opposite of your own, and seem reticent to commit to you without a trial period, or want a salary that outstrips your present salary structure, or have expectations around workload that don’t marry with those of your existing GPs? You’d take the two vetted, match-made-in-heaven candidates every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

This is where Menlo Park Recruitment can add value. Imagine a recruitment process where you stipulate your criteria, and every candidate that is submitted hits those criteria? Imagine being able to put your advert out to the market and that being the result. Well, that’s what we offer. We can guarantee to only introduce to you GPs who are genuinely interested in what you’re offering.. if they’re not, we’ll find them somewhere they do want. And yes, I know you’re all shouting ‘but you charge a fee for your service’ right now, and you’re right that your five or six direct candidates are ‘free’. But are they though? What’s the cost of getting it wrong? What’s the cost of chasing dead ends for weeks on end only to find yourselves still without a GP (but with plenty of offers of locum sessions)? We’d argue that cost would be pretty high, and whilst there are some things we can’t guarantee, we can guarantee you won’t pay us a penny unless we find you a GP you think is worth the price.

Looking for free help and advice with finding your next role?

You’re welcome to contact us for help finding your next role in Primary Care. We have GP roles across the UK and it is free to use our services. If you would like to speak to our team, complete our contact form, here.

You can also click below to get in touch with Matthew via LinkedIn.



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