Practice Coverage Strategies

Securing adequate practice coverage can be a source of frustration for many physicians seeking time away from their practice for vacation, CME, or other reasons. Creating and supporting practice coverage is a great way to enable physician retention and satisfaction.

Practice coverage can range from cross-coverage programs (local physicians covering for one another) to “external” locum coverage. Both enable host physicians to a leave for vacation, continuing medical education, illness, etc.). Practice coverage can enable new graduates, who are keen to trial a variety of communities and practices before committing to a permanent location, and retiring physicians to contribute to continuity of patient care.

The following briefly describes practice coverage strategies:

  • Cross-coverage - Cross-coverage usually happens naturally within group or co-located practices. Hosting a division event with members interested in covering for their colleagues outside of their practice is one way to engage the members in developing a coverage program that meets their respective needs.
  • Locums - Being a locum can provide valuable opportunities for new grads and physicians new to a province to learn about various practices and communities before making a commitment to a permanent location and practice. As well, it can enable recruiting clinics and divisions to assess a candidate for best-fit to the community and practice.
  • Shared locums - Working with other divisions and communities in your region to share locums may be an efficient way to approach practice coverage by enabling locums to experience a variety of practices and communities. Consider contacting your neighboring divisions to explore the opportunity to share locums. This can include collaborative advertising and coordination.
  • Locum pools - Creating a dedicated pool of locum physicians within a community/region is another way of supporting and sustaining practices. These floater locums can “float” among several communities for practice coverage.

Below are some tools to support practice coverage efforts from tracking locum needs to advertising and applying for assignment of payment forms:

Advertising for Locums

There are many vehicles to advertise your locum postings including medical journals, division and community partner websites, and professional job sites.  See some sites below:

Health Match BC

  • Health Match BC can assist you, at no cost, to advertise long-term locum vacancies (minimum three-month duration) and help you and locum candidates throughout the recruitment process).

  • A physician-run website that broadcasts your locum ad (short-term or long-term locums) to over 1,000 physician members.  Visit the site for costs.

Society of General Practitioners (SGP) Locum Postings

  • SGP advertises your locum posting (short-term and long-term locums). No cost to SGP members. Annual fee for divisions.

Rural Locum Program

  • Supporting small rural communities with practice coverage is vital to enable physicians in these communities to take leave for vacation and CME:

Rural General Practitioner Locum Program (Ministry of Health)
Application for Expenses
Application for Payment of Daily Rate
Assignment of Payment

Locum Contracts

Recruiters and candidates are strongly encouraged to obtain legal counsel when creating, negotiating, and finalizing all contracts.
Physician Services Agreement

  • Contract template, developed in consultation with legal counsel, and with input from division physicians and family medicine residents.

Locum Contract Sample 1
Locum Contract Sample 2
Sample locum contracts created by local divisions.
Rural Locuming Contract: RGPLP Contract template 2014-2015