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Locum


A locum is professional in the medical industry who works on a self-employed basis.

They usually act as temporary replacements for doctors, pharmacists, dentists, opticians, etc.

Exploring options as a new healthcare professional

After completing their foundation programmes, many newly-qualified healthcare professionals choose to work as locums to have extra time to explore which specialty path to take.

Some enjoy the freedom and flexibility this provides so much that they decide to become locums full-time, spending their careers moving around different health centres and hospitals.

Advantages of working as a locum:

  • Variety: You’ll have the opportunities to work in a variety of hospitals and health centres with lots of different people.
  • Work less hours: You’ll be able to work fewer hours while studying for exams to learn new specialties.
  • Choice: You’ll get to choose who you work with, and when.
  • More pay: You’ll earn more per hour.
  • Other jobs: You’ll get the opportunity to work in areas outside of healthcare.

Disadvantages of working as a locum

  • Inconsistent work: The benefit of earning more per hour could be offset by inconsistent job availability.
  • Less support: You might not get as much support from other professionals since you’ll be working on your own a lot of the time.
  • Managing accounts: You’ll have to record all of the money you make and your expenses so you can complete a Self-Assessment Tax Return at the end of each tax year.
  • Missing regular holidays: There is often more work available at times like bank holidays and Christmas.

Being a learning locum

Some students of healthcare choose to do locum work in between training components, e.g. between Core and Higher.

There are two options:

  • Locum Appointment for Training (LAT): Temporary jobs where you are assigned an educational supervisor.
  • Locum Appointment for Service (LAS): Temporary jobs which don’t have an assigned educational supervisor, meaning there is no educational component.

It’s worth noting that if you are already training in a specialty, you won’t be able to take time out to work as a locum.

How to find work as a locum

Since being a locum is a highly-skilled profession, there is always high demand. This means it is quite easy to find locum jobs if you are qualified.

Here are a few places to look for work:

  • NHS Professionals: The NHS posts locum jobs here, and gives members priority over locum agencies.
  • NHS Jobs: A job board run by the NHS displaying jobs in all areas of healthcare, as well as featuring advice columns.
  • Locum agencies: A locum agency works the same way most employment agencies do – once you become a member, they’ll notify you when any suitable opportunities arise.
  • Send your CV to trusts: Let your local healthcare Trusts know you are available for locum work.


NHS Pensions

If you work as a locum GP, there are many circumstances where your work will still contribute to your NHS pension.

Read the NHS’s article on GP Locums for more information on pensions.

Accounting as a self-employed locum

There are various benefits to working as a locum, from the freedom and flexibility to work with a variety of businesses and individuals to more take-home pay.

But there is one downside – accounting.

As a full-time employee, your tax is usually taken care of on your behalf in the form of PAYE.

As a freelancer you’ll have to keep a range of financial records and then prepare and pay a Self-Assessment tax return at the end of each business year.

Accountancy can be very confusing and can distract you from what you love doing.

Getting tax and accountancy advice

With most accountants, you’ll pay them to do your year-end accounts, and then they’ll forget about you until the next year.

But for your business to be run smoothly and successfully, you’ll need advice on tax and accountancy throughout the year, especially in the early days.

Pearl Accountants is different

Pearl Accountants provides an affordable and specialist accountancy service designed just for freelancers.

Throughout the year we’ll be on hand to give you any tax and accountancy advice you might need, including things like:

  • Take-home pay
  • Which VAT scheme to register for
  • Expenses
  • Tax allowances
  • Choosing between sole trader and limited company
  • Running your business in a tax-efficient way

We charge for our accountancy services in a clear and simple way, which means you’ll never receive an unexpected bill, and you can get in touch for advice whenever you want without the worry of being charged a fortune like you would with many other accountants.

Get in touch for more information and advice

For more information and a free consultation call us now on 020 8582 0076

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We have been a client with Pearl Accountants for the last 5 years and we can only say that we have had nothing but an exceptional service and the advice we have received has been correct and perfect for our business.

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