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3 top tips on handling staff sickness at your GP surgery

Posted on 1/02/2018 by Grace Keenan


Over the past year we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of GP staff who are having to take time off due to sickness. This spike in sickness has been a direct result of positive COVID-19 cases and prolonged isolation periods.  There are undoubtedly also many other related factors that have led to people needing to take time off work due to feeling unwell. So, how can you keep your GP practice running smoothly while dealing with unforeseen absences?

1. Keep on top of your sickness policy

Keeping your practice support staff as well as your agency informed of your sickness policy helps to ensure minimal miscommunications. Make sure it is clear to your staff and temporary workers who they should contact, when and how., It can be useful to provide them with direct contact details for the member of staff who they would usually report to.

At TPP, short-term temps are requested to contact their TPP consultant as soon as possible in the morning if they are going to be absent from work, allowing time for the surgery to request cover or make alternative arrangements if needed.

2. Updating your staff manual

Having a staff manual is beneficial for employees and temporary workers, who could potentially cover sickness in your practice, all processes and procedures are then more likely to be picked up with ease.  The transparency of processes that comes with having a manual like this, will also benefit onboarding permanent new starters and documents processes that you may want to review or need to adapt in future. Your practice should take positive steps to keep in touch with employees, so they know that the surgery is interested in their health and wellbeing and that support is available.

3. Have a good, trusting relationship with your recruitment agency

A good relationship between your surgery and a recruitment agency is crucial to being able to identify candidates at short notice with the appropriate skills and experience. Dealing with staff absence and finding a replacement at the last-minute will be something your agency deals with regularly. Open and frequent communication with your agency Consultant will allow them to stay in touch with how you operate day to day and enable the agency to quickly supply the best staff for your needs. Your agency has the expertise to find the most talented and reliable candidates at short notice, minimising the disruption to your surgery as much as possible. 

If you would like to discuss recruitment for NHS experienced Receptionists, Secretaries or other GP support staff, please do get in touch on 020 7198 6080 or email