How-to, Locum Passport, Locuming

Storing your documents correctly will save you time and money, become a Locum Expert.

Storing your documents correctly will save you time and money, here's how to do it.

This blog post is all about organisation. It's our favourite thing to do and as we've devised a system that rocks, we want to pass that knowledge on to you.

Maintainance is a boring, time-consuming part of any process yet without it things tend to fall apart (quite literally!). So when it comes to locuming, maintaining your documents is just as crucial as signing up to your first agency. In this article we will talk about:
  • What documents need to be maintained.
  • Maintenance: Storing and organising all of your documents.
  • Using your up-to-date data.
What documents need to be maintained.
If you're already locuming, you'll know there are around 30-40 pieces of documentation that are required to support your application to an agency. If you're not a locum already, these pieces of information include things such as your address, photo id, education, registration details and more. These documents are then assessed against a framework that requires the documents to be updated regularly. (You can find out more about frameworks here)
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If your agency doesn't receive up to date information it could be bad news; you may have to stop working until everything is updated and if your agency is deemed to have submitted your application knowing your compliance is incomplete, they may be forced to stop supplying locums to specific hospitals - it's bad news all around.
What makes maintaining your documents difficult is that they will all invariably have different expiry dates. For instance, proof of address documentation needs to be within the last 6 months, professional registration is once yearly and your passport details may need changing anytime in the next 5 years. This headache, together with differing rules for differing agencies means that you really need to be clued on when sorting and maintaining your files.
You could save yourself a load of hassle and use the locum Passport (shameless plug), although we are all about choice so there are other options available that don't require a cool and easy to use app, just some good old-fashioned filing stickers and document wallets.
Maintenance: Storing and organising all of your documents.
So you have a list of the compliance data you need (if you don't, download the free Locum Passport app and copy the list of documents that are required) and now, you need to put a simple and easy, update and filing system into place.

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Step 1.
Choose between online filing and physical filing. We have a whole article dedicated to this very topic and you can find it here. If you already use tech for most of your work anyway consider online storage - its easier to search through documents and your documents are always available on any device. If you don't use tech all that often or prefer to break out the scanner, printer labels and all of that, physical storing is your best choice. While each option has its own merits, we think in terms of the process of updating, maintaining and sending your documents to your agency, the online method is so much easier. If you want to read a great article comparing the two storage options, check this one out.
Step 2.
Whether using online or physical storage, you'll need a way of organising your documents. We suggest you break down your documents into common areas. So that this post doesn't become so long that it bores you, we suggest you use the Locum Passports matrix, which can be viewed and even used for free on the app. If you're using physical storage it's really important to label things up correctly and accurately. Your labels should contain:
  • Document title.
  • Creation date.
  • Expiry date (if there isn't an obvious date, set this 3-6 months in the future).
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Step 3.
Mark the expiry dates on your calendar and write a note a few days before, reminding you to get the document ready to be sent to your agencies when it expires. You can use your phone calendar or a physical one. If you don't think its calendar worthy or simply, it seems like a lot of effort for every document in your compliance pack, but still want to be reminded, you could always make use of the Locum Passports inbuilt notifications. (just a thought).
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Using your up to date data
You've spent all this time making sure your documents are ready, it’s time to use them to your advantage. In your compliance pack, you have the power to join any agency that you wish. So get on with it - you're no longer confined to one agency! Find agencies that are willing to give your current one a run for their money. If you don't work for an agency, why not apply to more roles yourself using the compliance pack, after all,  to do so, you'll just need an extra copy of your documents (or just an email address, if you're using the passport). 
We've got some great articles for you to read on getting the most from your documents, from joining agencies to being as cost-effective as possible when sourcing your DBS and mandatory training:
  • Locuming 101: finding the right agency.
  • Agency dating
  • What DBS certificate do I need?

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If you liked our post on compliance and data you may enjoy our other articles tailored for Locum. Join our newsletter to stay up to date.