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9 Must-Know Pros and Cons of Working as a Locum Doctor in the UK

Written by

Georgiana Strut

Date posted

12 August, 2022

Considering becoming a locum doctor in the UK? You’re not alone, over 17,000 GPs are locums, and for many, it provides flexibility and financial benefits that are not offered by permanent roles.

But working as a locum doctor isn’t the best choice for everyone; some personalities thrive in locum roles, while others prefer permanent roles. So, which is right for you? In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of working as a locum doctor so you can decide whether it’s the right career move for you.


5 Advantages of Working as a Locum Doctor

There are many pros to working locum as a doctor in the UK, including:

Time Flexibility

As a locum doctor, you will have a lot more flexibility regarding when you work. You can often work around other commitments, take on more work when you have the energy and less when you don’t, and make space for holidays whenever you desire.

Financial Flexibility

If you want to bring in some extra income, you can easily do so simply by increasing the hours you work. Equally, if you’re feeling financially stable and want to do fewer hours, you can do so without asking for permission or having to seek a new permanent part-time role.

Location Flexibility

You can work more in locations you enjoy and you’re not trapped working out of the same location day-in, day-out. If you want to try somewhere new, it’s easy to do so.

High Rates of Pay

As a locum doctor in the UK, you can make £100,000 or more per year if you choose to work full time, including some evening and weekend shifts. You can choose to only work locum shifts that meet your desired minimum hourly wage.

Even if full-time isn’t right for you, you can still earn more than £75,000 per year with an average rate of £70 per hour. Working only 26 hours per week at this rate can give you an annual income of £76,440 even with 6 weeks of annual leave, 2 weeks of bank holidays, and 2 weeks of CPD when you will not be earning.


Regularly moving to different placements allows you to experience different environments and learn other systems so that you always feel stimulated and can be constantly expanding your knowledge.


4 Cons of Working as a Locum Doctor

As with any job, there are also cons to working as a locum doctor in the UK, including:


The main disadvantage to working locum is that you have no guarantees. As with any other self-employed role, you have no guarantee that you will get as much work as you had hoped or that practices will pay the rates that you set, especially if you’re not willing to travel far and don’t live in a central location.

Not as much financial stability

Working as a doctor (especially one that’s well regarded) means there will always be jobs available, but there’s no getting around the fact that not getting a regular salary each month means that you can feel financial instability. This can be reflected when searching for something like a mortgage.

No feeling of being a part of a team

Unless you find locum placements you can go to often, you’re essentially just filling in and so you won’t have a chance to become a part of the team and make meaningful relationships with your colleagues or patients.

Being a locum can come with high expectations

Many locums find that there is a high expectation put on them to excel from the minute they start a placement. It is unlikely that anyone will be willing to show you the ropes, other than the basic information you need to know about the practice, so this style of working is best for particularly experienced professionals.


As you can see there are both pros and cons to working as a locum GP in the UK, but that is the same with any job. The pros most likely outweigh the cons, but you should think carefully about whether this style of work will be right for you. If you are confident, highly adaptable, and wish to be in control of your schedule, working as a locum GP could be the answer. At Coyle Doctors, we can help you to find your perfect placement so that you can progress in your career

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