Roundtable: Being a Livi GP

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What’s it really like to work as a digital GP? We recently sat down with Drs Farah Virjee and Ewan O’Farrell to find out. In our roundtable, they share their views on the practicalities of daily life as a GP at Livi, quality of care, support and much more.

Q: How does working at Livi differ from traditional general practice?

EO: Broadly, it's the same as working as a traditional GP in the NHS. You have to take your appraisal, revalidation, same as in normal practice.

FV: The only difference is Livi GPs work from home. Other than that, it’s as you would expect. We’re required to be GMC registered, on the English Performers List and reside in the UK.

Q: What’s flexible working like at Livi?

FV: There’s a huge range of working hours for you to fit in with whatever works best for your lifestyle. Some people like to tailor it around childcare. Some people just find that they want to bake a cake in the middle of the day. That's fine!

All you need is a desk and a chair, and everything else is provided, including a laptop and a screen. Livi works with you to identify what roles you wish to do and what hours you want to work.

EO: You can take your annual leave whenever you want it. You're not negotiating with a colleague as to who gets half term. Our salaried GPs can also work abroad for one month in every six.

Q: How do appointments work and how much admin is involved?

FV: Patients can book appointments either on the Livi app or they can get booked in via their surgery as well. Once they've booked in, their details come through to you. You can access medical records for patients who have booked via their NHS surgery. Livi also has a dedicated admin team to ensure that you can spend as much time as you need with the patient.

EO: The only form filling really is urgent cancer referrals, otherwise there’s not really any form filling at all.

FV: If there are any investigations that you need or any referrals that you need to do, you just document these in the notes and then the Livi admin team take over from there.

Q: What range of patients do you tend to see?

FV: We have a range of conditions that we manage, ranging from short-term illnesses to management of long-term chronic conditions as well. Some people might need to be seen face-to-face. If that is the case, we help redirect them either to their surgery, to 111, to urgent care centres, or if it's an emergency, then daily.

EO: The patients we see are very varied. The age range I think on our NHS services is more or less one to 100.

Q: How does Livi ensure quality of care?

EO: Quality of care is obviously very important to all clinicians. It's the reason we do our job. Livi is incredibly focused on that and have got a really robust programme of clinical quality assurance. We look at each clinician’s work on a regular basis and provide appropriate, constructive feedback and also celebrate excellence.

Q: What support do you receive?

FV: All clinicians are allocated a mentor when they join Livi. This is a person who has worked at Livi for at least six months and is an experienced GP who they can keep in touch with and gain support from.

EO: Livi is really conscious that working remotely can be a new experience. So they’ve really taken steps to try and bridge that gap. That’s backed up with regular educational meetings and regular social occasions.

Q: Tell us about the benefits?

EO: Livi offers industry-leading rates and provides all clinicians with a pro-rata wellness contribution that can be spent on any services related to your wellness, your health or your wellbeing. This is something that the CQC inspectors picked up on, and that was partly what led to them giving Livi an outstanding rating.

FV: There’s annual leave, sick leave, study budget, pension payments, and they also cover indemnity for any sessions that you work. I don't have to worry about my gym membership cost. I don't have to worry about going to have a massage when my neck is hurting. I know that Livi’s got me covered.

Q: What avenues of career progression are there?

EO: Internal promotion is very much the culture. I started as a remote clinician. All of the associate medical directors and lead GPs at Livi got where they are in exactly the same way.

FV: After you've started at Livi, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with non-clinical work as well.

EO: Like mentoring, clinical quality assurance, producing content for our social media channels or our website. All those opportunities will keep coming. There’s always new things for people to do. That's a really great thing about the company. It’s not static. It's not just the same old. It's a company that's going places.

FV: You always feel well looked after at Livi, knowing that there's an admin team on hand so I can spend more time talking to the patients and helping to look after them as best as I can.

Q: What do you like most about working at Livi?

FV: What I love about working at Livi is that patient care is always at the heart of everything that we do.

EO: We are delivering positive change for patients and that is, however you look at it, an amazing thing.

To find out more about working as digital GP, visit our clinical talent hub