What is a locum?
A locum also known as locum tenens is a medical professional that temporary holds a position at a hospital, clinic or private practice .The locum often holds the place of another medical professional, which is also what locum tenens refers to – placeholder.
In layman’s terms the locum is a doctor or medical professional which freelances. Whether the person acts as substitute or just to fill a position on a temporary basis, the role of the locum tenens is all important.
Why locums are important
Without the locum many positions will remain unfilled, leaving gaps in the service delivery capacity of the medical facility. Since this will not only mean loss of income for the facility, but also a reduction in service delivery capacity, it is important to fill the jobs in medical positions as soon as possible. The patient has the right to the best possible care and if there is a shortage of doctors that can provide the required care at a facility, then the patient is the one that suffers or will have to look elsewhere for such care. Patients turned away means prestige and money lost. It is not cheap to run a medical care facility and as such employers need the services of locums.
Why make use of medical recruitment agencies?
Although the statistics differ from country to country in general from 20% up to 80% of doctors are locum tenens in any given medical facility. Most of the positions are filled through the usage of medical recruitment agencies such as Fresh Medical Recruitment. Reasons for this varies, but mostly because doctors don’t have the time to search for positions while the facilities where their services are required also don’t have the time and resources to recruit. The agencies such as Fresh Medical Recruitment offer value added services ranging from advertising, screening, interviewing to placement of doctors at appropriate medical facilities. Both the hospital and the doctor benefit from our services.
Most locums that work in UK hospitals are recruited through medical recruitment companies such as ourselves. The General Practitioner (GP) locums are either self employed freelancers who work through various agencies or apply for positions on their own.
Benefits of being a locum
The benefit of being a locum is that you get to choose where you want to work rather than having to stay at one practice or institute for a long time. It is exciting work and pays well.
Some doctors become locums just after completion of their training and obtaining the required certification. This affords them the freedom to travel while also gaining experience and learning from the best experts in specific fields. If the travelling takes you to another country, it may however, also mean additional training to ensure that you can fulfil the minimum standards required according to for instance, regulations in the UK.
Once a doctor finds a location and position which fit their interests, they will have the benefit of experience in that area and may even apply for one of the permanent jobs in medical facilities. It is however, not only the large hospital that makes use of the locum, but also smaller private practices where a doctor needs to take study leave, travel or simply require additional help to run the practice efficiently.