How Many Days per Week Do I Need to Work as a Locum F3 to Earn My F2 Salary in 2023?
Locuming in your F3 year can be a great way to earn a higher salary whilst having more free time for yourself.
But how does locum pay in your F3 year compare with your F2 salary? And how many days per week would you have to work as a locum to match this?
In this article, we'll use our new bespoke Locum Doctor Salary Calculator to find out for you!
💸 How Much Do F2s Earn?
At the time of writing, the base salary of an F2 Doctor is £33,345, prior to any premia or enhancements for unsocial hours (such as nights and on-calls). If you managed to get a job in London, then you'd expect to get an extra £2,162 as part of the London weightings.
With premia, the total amount you'll get for F2 will depend on your rota, and the number of on-calls, nights, and weekends that it consists of. OF course, this will vary from hospital to hospital. However, the rough average we normally see is around the £42,000 (+ / - £1000) mark for Greater London, and around £39,800 (+ / - £1000) for the rest of the UK.
🧮 Calculating Your Salary as a Locum Doctor
To calculate what sort of salary you could ern as a locum doctor, we'll first need to cover a few key considerations:
💰 Your locum rate
This is mainly determined by your grade, region, and the specialty you'll be working in. We've actually written articles on how these variables can affect SHO locum rates, which analyse the highest and lowest-paying specialties and regions. You can find these here:
🕑 The number of hours and days you’ll work
Be honest with yourself about how many hours and days you're willing to work per week. The more realistic you are with yourself, the more accurate your estimate salary will be.
🌏 Whether you plan to travel, explore other hobbies, or tend to other commitments
Many F3 doctors will work extremely hard for the first few months and save up to then go travelling. Some doctors will choose to reduce their hours to spend more time with their family, or on their hobbies. Whatever your plans are, make sure you factor this in.
📈 Our Calculator and Methodology
Now we've got that out the way, it's time to calculate.
To make things easier, we've created a bespoke Locum Doctor Salary Calculator (LDSC), which will work out your rates and do all the maths for you to answer this question. It can also be used to estimate how much you'd earn as a locum doctor based on your grade, speciality, and the region you work in.
The LDSC is based on our 2021 data, which consists of over 40,000 jobs that were entered onto Messly across a wide range of grades, specialties, and locations. This excludes GPs, as we only had a small sample size too small to include. All calculations are based on using a weighted average for an hourly rate and assume:
👉 The daily rate is calculated as the weighted average rate multiplied by 10 hours, removing 30 minutes as an unpaid break.
👉 You will be working 47 weeks per year, allowing for five weeks of annual leave.
If you want to learn more about how this calculator works, read this article here for the methodology.
💰 Matching Your Baseline Pay
To answer this question, we’ll run scenarios that look at both the 'Greater London' and 'Rest of UK' F2 training salaries.
Here the baseline, with London weightings, amounts to an annual salary of £35,507. As a locum doctor in London, you’ll, unfortunately, be affected by the pan-London rate cap, which you can learn more about in our article here.
In this scenario, let's assume we're a locum SHO working in Emergency Medicine. To make this a fairer comparison, we'll ignore F2 pay premia for unsocial hours and, in turn, assume that you'll only be working regular hours. This means you’ll be on the lower end of the hourly rate range of £38.27 to £44.24, of our LDSC's values.
With these assumptions, to earn £35,510 (£3 more) you'd have to just work just two days per week.
The Rest of the UK
Without the pan-London caps in effect, your locum pay will be considerably higher across the rest of the UK where the range is £42.98 to £48.37.
Using the same assumptions as Greater London (again, working regular hours only), you'd earn an annual salary of £39,593 working just two days per week. This is actually quite close to the 'total F2 salary' outside of London, once enhancements are included.
So, here, you’d only need to work less than two days per week on average to make your F2 salary.
💰 Matching Your Total F2 Pay
Once enhancements are factored in, working two days per week in London, even if it’s mostly unsocial hours, won’t be enough to match the £42,000 average.
However, if you worked three days per week, with no unsocial hours, you'd earn £52,503. This far exceeds an F2 trainee's full-time salary, without having to do any unsocial hours.
The Rest of the UK
As mentioned above, working two days per week outside London will allow you to earn your enhanced rate without even having to do any lates, nights, or weekend shifts. However, should you choose to add these into the mix, you’ll find yourself earning £41,995, which is about the same as the total salary for F2 doctors once enhancements and London weightings are added.
To summarise, working outside London you’d only have to work two days per week, without any unsocial hours, to match your total F2 salary with premia and enhancements all included.
Within London, you can easily make the base salary working two days per week, but would likely need to work three days to match the total salary.
Please remember, the calculations here are based on the hourly rates of a locum SHO working in Emergency Medicine. Different specialties have different rates and various levels of demand for locums, which will affect the calculations.
💭 Other Considerations
👉 Locum shifts aren't always guaranteed. Depending on demand, you may need to travel, and be flexible with the hours you’re willing to work, to ensure you get regular shifts. You may also find it beneficial to get into something we call 'The Locum Mindset'. This is essentially about seeing your locuming as a business and being proactive to find locuming opportunities.
👉 There are also a few financial considerations you'll need to make, such as monthly expenses, rainy day funds, and how to secure steady work. This is especially important because locum doctors aren't usually eligible for sick pay (except SSP). Read more about this in our article here.
If you need help finding your next locum role, why not try our free Locum Finding App? It takes just five minutes to set up, and lets you prioritise your preferences, such as pay, specialty, location, the types of shifts you’re looking for, and how often you want to work. You'll only be contacted by the best agencies from our hand-picked selection once they've been approved to meet your individual requirements.
📚 Further Reading and Useful Resources
If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our similar articles which you'll also find useful:
💰 Managing Your Finances
Since you read this, you might also be interested in our other finance articles, to help you plan your finances and boost your rates as a locum doctor.
This article is part of a wider series of resources and guides that are designed to support you as a locum doctor, covering areas such as getting your first job, managing your finances, understanding your rights, and many more. Visit our Locum Doctor Hub for everything you need to know about locuming today.
Additionally, if you're considering an F3 year, you might also find it useful to look through the selection of resources we've put together in our F3 Resource Hub.
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