Locum Rates: What Can I Expect?
This article is a guide to help you know what to expect to be paid as a locum doctor, including a general overview of the UK pay rates, as well as an explanation of the pan-London rates.
For advice on managing tax codes, National Insurance, pensions, and more as a locum doctor, see our article on managing finances with specialist advice from our friends at Medics Money.
How much can I expect to be paid hourly as a locum doctor?
The pay rates can vary widely depending on factors such as the region, the position seniority, and the number of hours you want to work.
As a rough guide, outside of London you can expect the following gross hourly rates for day/core shifts, possibly with around £5-10 per hour more for nights and weekends:
👉 SHO: Junior SHOs: £35 -£45, Senior SHOs: £40 - £50 sometimes slightly lower in popular specialities
👉 Registrar: £55-80 per hour, or more as you get closer to CCT
👉 Consultant: £80+ per hour
Bear in mind that there's a lot of variation based on the hospital, region, and your specialty. With that in mind, we'd advise you to speak to a few different Staff Banks and agencies, as well as your colleagues, to get a better sense of what you should be paid in your own circumstances.
What are the pan-London locum rates and where do they apply?
Pan-London rates are agreed rates which hospitals within Greater London (roughly the M25 boundary) have agreed to pay locum doctors. This applies to locum work both through Staff Banks and agencies alike.
👉 SHO: Rates here are £36 per hour for core hours and £42 for non-core hours.
👉 Registrar: Rates are £44 per hour for core hours and £52 for non-core hours. There tends to be more flexibility for Registrars than SHOs, with £55-60 per hour for core hours achievable in some cases.
👉 Consultant: The rate is £75 per hour for core hours, but there's much more flexibility here and variation between specialties.
There are cases where the hospitals can escalate rates above these levels (called ‘break-glass’ provisions), which varies from hospital to hospital. Typically, however, if you're looking for a longer-term block of locum jobs in London this will be at the pan-London rates.
Some locum doctors living in London do decide to travel outside the M25 to work at hospitals with better rates, which tend to be around £40-42 for SHO core hours and £48-50 for SHO non-core hours.
What could I earn as a monthly salary as a locum doctor?
An SHO working three days per week could expect to earn around £5,800 per month. This assumes pay of £45 per hour with 10-hour shifts. You'll then deduct tax, National Insurance, and pension to get your take-home pay.
Obviously if you work more or fewer hours and get a different hourly rate this will change. But, overall, you'll find that working as a locum doctor is significantly more lucrative than a substantive post.
However, it’s important to remember that you need to plan your finances in advance before you start locuming. Work can dry up quickly, and you're generally not entitled to sick pay. It’s therefore important to get a safety fund together to ensure your fixed monthly costs are covered each month, as well as allowing you to achieve any other financial goals you might have.
Our top tips!
1. Speak to colleagues to get an idea of the hourly rate you can expect at your Trust
2. Speak to your agency to get advice about which pay rate you should propose for each shift. Some Trusts have fixed amounts and some can be negotiated.
3. Check out our article on how to make a living as a full-time locum here, so you won’t have to worry about your income as a locum doctor!
This article is part of a wider series, supporting doctors like yourself with a comprehensive set of guides to ensure your F3 year is a success. These guides cover everything from initial planning, options for moving abroad, help with finding work, and tips for making the most of the experience. Click here to visit our F3 Resource Hub to explore the full list of guides and articles.
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