Who We Are

Welcome to the North East’s only  Virtual Practice or Primary Care Recruitment Agency. We have an excellent reputation for supplying both supplying GP Locums, Nurse Practitioners, Practice Nurses and Admin staff to Primary Care  and for ensuring that our staff feel part of our virtual practice. We currently only  work across the North East (Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, Sunderland, Teesside, Northumberland) so we are area inside and out.

We began life in 2004 with two aims firstly to become a virtual practice so that our locums would feel part of a team and secondly to provide high quality, reliable and professional GP locum cover to the North East. Today we can meet a whole practice’s temporary and permanent staffing needs and we continue to grow our team from strength to strength.

  • We help people.
  • We are here to support you
  • We work with people with lives, not with numbers on a list.
  • We listen and we care about what we do.

Our Team

Louise Swinburne

Business Director

Louise (co-founder) runs the company on a daily basis. She spent several years working in marketing and senior management for blue chip snack food companies, before setting up Primary Locums NE ltd

She has 3 children, is an Essex girl, but has now spent more time in the North East although she still needs her thermal vest in June! According to her eldest daughter she has a very embarrassing laugh, enjoys a few strong black coffees in the morning and green tea in the afternoon

Hayley McNeill

Customer Officer

Hayley joined as an apprentice in 2012 and soon became a valuable member of our team, as she worked through her NVQ qualifications. Hayley is most likely the first person you will speak to at Primary Locums as she is the fastest to the telephone every time.

She enjoys a busy family and social life, she loves her Dalmatian Max, who stares lovingly at her from the mousemat on her desk. She is a football widow and tea is her drink of choice in one of her 'pug' mugs.

Helen Shaw

Customer Officer

Helen worked as a staff nurse for many years, went onto work as an Assistant Practice Manager in Gateshead before joining our team.

She manages her time outside of work juggling children, a dog and not forgetting her husband. Both Helen and her husband are always to be found at every Newcastle Falcons home match. Helen enjoys both black coffee and earl grey tea, depending on the time of day.

Sophie Simpson


Sophie has recently joined the Primary Locums team, as an apprentice in Business Administration. She is a fan of green tea and when she was asked prior to her interview, if she were a biscuit what sort of biscuit would she be? this was her reply which describes her better than I can:

'I would be a gluten free chocolate chip cookie because I get along with everybody and I am very sweet. Or maybe a donut because I like to think outside of the box'.

Dr Jon Levick

Clinical Director

Jon co-founder of Primary Locums runs 2 GP Practices in Derwentside Co Durham, Oakfields Health Centre and Dipton Surgery. He has held prominent positions in the locality over the years.

He has a keen interest in sailing for which he would need two more days in every week to enjoy properly.

Why Choose Us?

We are reputable and professional organisation our history and reputation will confirm this claim. We thoroughly and regularly check all our staff (GP locum, Nurse Practitioner and Practice Nurse) to satisfy not only the requirements of the CQC and other professional bodies, but our own checks.

You can be sure when you contact us that we will bend over backwards to help you even with a seemingly impossible task. We do on occasion deliver a miracle, but if we can’t we will have left no stone unturned.

We enjoy the mutual support and benefit that being part of a virtual team presents, our staff be they a GP or a practice nurse don’t leave us due to dissatisfaction with the service we provide usually they leave because they move to another area or country or their circumstances change but they always keep in touch and in a lot of instances come back. We have seen many staff members into marriage, parenthood and grandparenthood.

We have been working with practices and GP locums, Nurse Practitioner and Practice Nurses in the NE for the last 10 years. We have built our virtual practice and reputation slowly and steadily preferring staff to join us through recommendation rather than advertising. Living and working in the area means we understand its population distribution and differences, not to mention traffic hot spots challenging start times.

Our aim is to make practice’s lives easier by helping them fill short or longer term recruitment gaps. GP locums, Practice Nurses and Nurse Practitioners can often feel isolated if they work alone and daunted by the challenges presented of regularly working in a new environment, we aim to ensure any concerns, anxieties and feelings of isolation are minimised and ensure that they feel part of our team. We try and allay any fears that either practice or staff member has, it matters that all experiences connected with Primary Locums are positive.

We all go to work to earn money to live and we aim to ensure that all our GP locums, Practice Nurses and Nurse Practitioners are fairly and appropriately rewarded for the work that they carry out and there is also recognition for extra responsibility and for going the extra mile. Our GPs remain masters of their own destiny and invoice practices directly if there are problems with payments we will chase them up and ensure payment is prompt.

More than ever Practices are under increasing financial pressure so we also aim to ensure that rates represent true value to the practice and that despite the current demand they are not exploited either.

We strive to get to know both our customers, practices and our staff (GP locums, Practice Nurses and Nurse Practitioners) as we have found that the better we know what people are looking for both in terms of filling staffing gaps and what a Practice Nurse wants to achieve by being a member of our virtual practice, the better we can succeed at ensuring that the mutual experience is a positive one. We try and match practices with appropriate staff, as every practice in the North is unique as is every GP, or Practice Nurse.