I have noticed my contract includes a clause regarding intellectual property (i.e. the GP practice is the sole owner of the rights to any original work/material developed, even outside working hours). I am uncomfortable signing this and was wondering if it is a standard part of a contract?
In general, clauses regarding intellectual property are not unusual in employment contracts. Typically, they specify that any intellectual property developed in the course of your employment belongs to the employer and this is not unreasonable in a professional or corporate environment. As a general principle, an employer owns any intellectual property its employees create during their employment. If, however, intellectual property has been developed by you, other than in the course of employment, then the rights to this intellectual property (i.e. your ideas or inventions) belong to you.
In this situation, the wording of this clause in your employment contract may imply that you are agreeing to a provision that gives your employer the rights to your intellectual property even if it has nothing to do with your work as a GP registrar. While the courts may find such restrictive clauses invalid, you should ensure that you have read your employment contract carefully and fully understand the implications of the contract you are entering into. As such, it is recommended you request that the employer amends this clause before you sign the contract. A formal legal review of the relevant terms of your contract is also recommended, as the specifics of this are dependent on the wording of your individual contract.