How Does a Locum Doctor Get Paid?


Choosing to work as a locum doctor can hold many advantages. Working as a locum doctor can be much more desirable as opposed to working in a salaried position as a doctor.

If you’re thinking about taking on locum work as a doctor, then you’re probably wondering how you get paid for the various locum work that you will be undertaking. In this short article, we’ll discuss exactly how you will get paid as a locum doctor. 

Why Might I Become a Locum Doctor?

You may choose to become a locum doctor for a number of reasons. Regardless of whether you’re a full-time, salaried doctor or you have just recently qualified, working as a locum doctor has many advantages:

  • Opportunity to gain valuable experience
  • Well Paid
  • Very Flexible
  • You enjoy a regular change

How Much Will I Get Paid as A Locum Doctor?

As a locum doctor, you will operate under self-employment and will generally charge an hourly amount for your services within a given time frame. The amount you charge per hour will largely depend on your experience and whether you have any specialities. Currently, there is no set cap when it comes to how much a locum doctor can charge per hour, but there is a commonly used range of charge rates.

If a locum doctor is working through a locum agency, the agency will normally negotiate the rate of hourly pay for the doctor, and the doctor will then be paid every 1-2 weeks for the number of hours they spent performing their locum duties. The hourly rate will vary, but usually, the rates are similar to the below table which displays the relevant hourly rate which corresponds to the appropriate level of experience.


Average Pay Per Hour


£30 - £75


£40 - £85


£50 - £100

Getting Paid as A Locum Doctor

Locum doctors will usually negotiate their own hourly rate of pay if they are finding their own locum work. If a doctor chooses to find work through an agency, generally the agency will negotiate the rate of pay, or a particular locum role will be advertised at a set hourly wage. A shift pattern is then agreed, usually this will be at the discretion of the locum doctor and what suits them. 

The locum doctor will then show up for the agreed time and preform their locum duties and then leave when they are due to. Locum doctors will only be paid for the hours worked on their shifts, which could be between 6-12 hours long. The locum doctor may choose to pick up extra shifts which they will be paid for as well. 

Different locum roles will pay more or less regularly than various other locum roles. However, it is common for a locum doctor to be paid every 1-2 weeks at a minimum. It is also worth noting that locum doctors are not entitled to sick leave or sick pay, and if you choose to take sick leave, then you must do so unpaid. 

Becoming a locum doctor offers numerous advantages, including the opportunity to gain valuable experience, a higher pay scale, flexibility in work schedules, and the enjoyment of a regular change in clinical settings. As a locum doctor, you will operate as a self-employed professional, charging an hourly rate for your services. The amount you can charge depends on your experience and any specializations you possess. If working through a locum agency, the agency will negotiate the hourly pay rate on your behalf. Locum doctors typically get paid every 1-2 weeks for the hours worked, and the duration of shifts can vary from 6 to 12 hours. However, it's important to note that locum doctors are not entitled to sick leave or sick pay, and any absence due to illness is unpaid.

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