How Much Can a Full-Time Locum Consultant Make in 2023?
We all know that locuming can be incredibly lucrative, but have you ever wondered how much a full-time locum consultant actually earns? How does this compare to a full-time consultant working for the NHS?
In this article, we'll use our brand new Locum Doctor Salary Calculator (LDSC) to find out!
📈 Calculations and Assumptions
If you're working as a locum, you can use our Locum Doctor Salary Calculator to work out how much you can earn based on things like your grade, speciality, and the region you're working in.
Our LDSC is based on our 2021 data, which consists of over 40,000 jobs offered on the Messly platform across a wide range of grades, specialties, and locations. The exception here is GPs, where we only had a 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 find out more about how this calculator works, you can read this article here for the methodology.
😐 How Much do NHS Consultants Make?
Working full-time, a newly qualified consultant would earn around £84,559 before any premiums or enhancements are added on, rising to £95,144 after working for five years (BMA).
This is based on working 10 Programmed Activities (PA) per week, which are usually four-hour blocks of time to perform various contractual work. These are categorised into:
- Direct Clinical Care
- Supporting Professional Activities
- Additional Responsibilities
- External Duties.
😁 How Much Can a Locum Consultant Make?
For these two, scenarios let's say you're a locum consultant in Respiratory Medicine working in the West Midlands.
Working four days per week
We'll use the methodology from earlier to match our calculator's hours to the 10 PAs, or 40 hours of work, per week. We’ll need to reduce the calculator to four days, as each day assumes 10 hours of work. With the above assumptions, the hourly rate will be between £102.81 and £112.73, depending on the number of unsocial hours worked.
This equates to an annual gross salary between £188,048 and £196,893. However, it's worth noting this value can also fluctuate heavily depending on experience, and it's not uncommon for more senior consultants to earn more than the hourly rate quoted here.
Working five days per week
Working five days per week, you would take your working hours up to 50, or 12.5 PAs.
Using the same assumptions as above, a consultant working these days would be able to command an annual salary between £235,060 and £246,116. This is over seven times the UK average salary of £31,772 (ONS,2021)
💭 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.