The good news is there’s plenty around and you’re unlikely to have difficulty in keeping busy!
There are several routes to finding work and you can use more than one at a time.
1) Independently. You find your own work, set your fees and do your own admin. You are your own boss and everything you earn goes to you (well, and the tax man!).
It’s the most popular route especially outside of the big cities and your work will be pensionable.
It can be a little daunting initially but usually once you’ve worked in a few practices, the repeat bookings will keep on coming. We can help get you started as we have thousands of GP practices using our site to search for locums and, of course, LO will help with the admin.
2) Chambers – this is a small group of freelance locums who share the cost of employing managers to deal with bookings and admin. They negotiate as a group with local practices.
The main advantage is the great support you’ll get from your experienced chambers colleagues. There are also CPD events and your work remains pensionable. The management fees and commitment may not be for everyone.
3) Traditional Locum agency – a quick way of finding work, but the fees and the amount of travel involved can be variable. Work performed through an agency is not eligible for the NHS pension scheme. Practices often prefer independent locums as agency fees can be high.
4) Network Locum – Another useful online platform for getting work. Fees are paid by the practice and are lower than most agencies. As you still work independently, your work remains pensionable.
Practices will often start looking for locums months in advance of shifts that they need covering so it’s rarely too early to make it known that you are available.
There will usually be plenty of last minute requests for cover as well.
Consider how far you are willing to travel. You can search for practices within an area using NHS choices.
It’s worth sending a friendly email and CV to the practice manager of your targeted practices. Most practices will have the PM’s name and email address on their website.
Alternatively, there are two ways in which we can help you get work.
Firstly, we can give you some tools to market yourself. You can quickly create a profile, viewable by registered practices which shows when you’re available for work. Your profile has its own web address which you can share with any practice you like, who can then easily see when you’re free. If you wish, you can also upload your CV to your profile, for practices to easily view.
Secondly, we hope we can bring some work to you – we have over 2000 practices registered with us to find locums. Briefly, the site works out a calendar showing the PM all those locums who are available for their sessions (by reference to the locums’ diaries) and who are also willing to travel as far as their surgery (as each locum specifies a commuting radius). The practice can then read a locum’s profile and contact them directly to arrange a booking.
Everything is updated automatically from your private locum diary so it’s a good idea to keep this up to date. You can block off time when you don’t want to work (days off are essential!)
This is all completely optional. Many people use our getting-work functions initially, and then turn them off once ‘established’.
Its worth joining a local GP/ post VTS/ first 5 Facebook group for information about local jobs and educational events. It can also be a great source of support and remind you that you are not alone.
The value of networking can’t be overstated – letting people know that you intend to work as a locum gets your name out there. Post graduate educational meetings can be a great time for this.
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