Locum Jobs UK
The Best Way To Earn And Play

Locum jobs are a great way to work and earn a living while practicing one’s chosen profession. It offers a high degree of flexibility.

It is a fantastic way of working freelance. Get a UK job as a locum today. We bring you a selection of top UK locum agencies you may wish to register with for regular supply of jobs when you want it and where you want.

Also peruse the locum survival guides for all you need to have a fulfilling locum experience. Welcome to the world of locum or agency jobs!

The word locum is derived from the Latin phrase locum tenens, meaning a “place holder”. It is used to describe a person who temporally stands in for another, usually of the same profession.

So as a locum, you provide cover for staff of similar qualification as yours, who are absent for any reason, or even for a vacant position not yet filled. The National Health Service (NHS) alone employs over 3500 locums every single day, and over 6,000 General Practitioners are “on locum basis”, making the health service the largest employer of locums in the world.

Locums works are common place, not only in medicine, dentistry, nursing, general practice, but also in pharmacy, law, paramedical job, and in the clergy.

You dictate when and where you want to work. Earn as much as possible, with a ceiling limited only by availability of time and your energy.

Locum Jobs – The Pros

Advantages abound in working as a locum. They include:

  • Freedom to choose where and when to work

  • You are your own boss

  • Potential to earn more than you might in a regular job

  • Save on expenses if working as self employed / limited company – claims all expenses like travel expenses, paperwork, hotel, exams, some meals, books, instruments for work, and even accommodation (at least part of it if you have a good accountant) before paying tax on your profit

  • Save on National Insurance contribution and thus more money to your pocket if working as a Limited Company. This is possible if you pay yourself the minimum wage and declare all other profit as dividend.

  • An opportunity to learn "how it is done" in different places and thus afford you greater experience than working in a unit.

  • More time on hand to plan and engage in a hobby or even obtain further qualification if desired, without the constrains of a fixed job

  • You could even locum while traveling. I have many a friend from Australia and South Africa, who are on working holidays to the UK, working as medical locums, and earning good money while traveling and visiting places.
  • Starting of as a locum could be a way of trying out different work organizations without commitments, and if you really like it there, it could become easier to get into that establishment, because you are already "well known". Start off as a locum instead of waiting endlessly for a permanent job to come along.

Locum Jobs – The Cons

While there are loads of benefits working as a locum, the flip side to it includes:

  • Uncertainty about continuous availability of locum jobs.

  • You may have to do lots of traveling to job locations, instead of commuting to one fixed place for work always

  • Lack of benefits like company funded pension schemes, loss of sick pay, no death in service payments (which is currently about 4 x your annual salary if one were to suddenly die in the NHS – this would be paid to the surviving family members), no paid for study leave, e.t.c. With proper and careful planning though, one can make his or her own private provision for all these benefits by subscribing to private business insurance

  • Professional isolation – Many may feel isolated, as they travel from one locum spot to the other

  • Locum job holders are often left out in decision making process in many departments because hey are considered "alien". This though should not discourage you. Just get on with your job and ignore the domestic politics. Know why you are there - to earn and get your freedom to play.

  • Career ‘Suicide’. After a long term locum job, many may feel reluctant to pursue further professional progression. This is not much of a problem though, as individuals often make up their mind on exactly what they want out of life. Many are still able to go back and pursue their planned career pathways if they really want to.

Locum Job Survival Guide

Are you apprehensive about starting off as a locum? Follow these survival guide and be off on a good starting:

Be set up as a Business. Realize that you are setting up a small business if you have decided to work as a full time locum. Go about it in a business like manner. Decide if you want to work as a ‘self employed’ businessman or as a ‘limited company’.

  • As a limited company, agencies tend to pay at least 10% more than as a PAYE and may cover for other expenses.
  • There are also tax benefits. You will be able to claim for expenses, as well as save on National Insurance (NI) contribution this way, making your hard earned income go further.
  • You may also find it easier to "re-distribute" your earnings with your spouse to decrease your tax liability if you get your spouse to "work" with you, say helping with the accounts.
Discuss with an accountant if this will be best for your particular circumstances. If you have decided to set up a limited company for your self, we have provided a guide on how to set up your own limited company or business.

Once you have set up your business to suit you, ensure the following:

  • Have a work planner / diary. Be prepared to document all your locum activities
  • Register with about three top locum agencies. See our list of top medical locum agencies in the UK
  • Plan how much work you need for a year to survive financially. Calculate the minimum required, so if you get more than that, it comes as a bonus
  • Plan your annual leave (4 to 8 weeks in a year if you like), study leave (2 to 4 weeks in a year) and build these into your rota right from the start.
  • Research periods of the year when work is more for locums (like during the summer times, when many people are on holiday) and expect to work more during these times
  • Avoid burn out and spread your work time out. Do not be tempted and want to work 7 days a week, month in month out to make large amounts of money once. You may soon find bitterness in the job despite the money coming in. Enjoy your work and set aside time to play.
  • Network with others doing locum jobs and keep yourself informed of prevailing rates and working condition. Join a trade union for locum workers. You will be surprise that one exists for your profession.
  • Do not hesitate to negotiate your rates.
  • Have a clear contract with your agency or work supplier about what happens if there is a last minutes cancellation. You may be entitled to some compensatory payments.
  • Keep your receipts and invoices for every expenses and payments you get. It will save you loads in time and tax.

You can lean more valuable locum jobs survival technique by reading the book Locum Doctor Survival Guide, irrespective of the profession you practice. The gems in this book can be carried over and be adapted for all professions.

The book discusses, amongst other issues, "finding and arranging locum work, setting your own locum rates, agreeing on terms and conditions of work, dealing with tax and expenses, and negotiating with practices and PCOs" -amazon.co.uk. You can get this gem of a book here at locum jobs survival guide at amazon.co.uk

Locum jobs is clearly a great way to earn and yet play if you want. You set your hours, earn more and plan and enjoy other hobbies. Define what you want and decide if locum jobs is the way forward for you. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy your job as a locum!

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