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11 Things You Should Know About Setting Your Singapore Locum GP Rates

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 16, 2018 6:56:41 PM / by Friends of CaregiverAsia

This article is written by April Han. She is a multi-passionate entrepreneur. With a formal education in Business Administration and years of working with healthcare startups under her belt, she is able to provide valuable advice to aspiring locums in terms of creativity, innovation, and discovery of solutions to the challenges amid our society’s growing demand for health services. A life-long learner with a growth mindset, she is currently expanding her knowledge of the healthcare marketplace through online courses and hands-on training from world-class mentors.

Singapore locum GP rate varies widely. The unwritten rule, however, is that rates of pay tend to be higher when hired directly by practices because you won’t need to pay any agency fees. You can negotiate with the practice with regards to the hours and rates they normally provide for locum doctors.

We suggest that you consider the following factors when setting your Singapore locum GP rates:

  • Your years of experience
  • The number of patients you’re required to see
  • The complexity of the disease
  • The duration of the consultation

Here are some of the things you need to know when setting your GP rates in Singapore

Locum GP Rate Guideline by the Singapore Medical Association (SMA)

In addition to the above factors, you can use the following guideline set by the SMA. This will help you stay competitive in this dog-eat-dog industry.

Type of Consultation  


In-office Short Consultation (10 minutes)

$20 - $30

In-office Long Consultation (11-20 minutes)

$30 - $55

In-office Extended Consultation

$20 - $35 per 10 minutes

Out-of-Office Non-Emergency Consultation

$120 - $200

Out-of-Office Emergency Consultation

$200 - $300

Hospital Inpatient Consultation

$50 - $100 per day

The Guidelines on Fees (GOF) was prompted when Nobel Prize winner for economics, Kenneth J. Arrow, suggested that health care economics is an example of market failure. He blames information inequality between the medical professional and the patient as the culprit for undermining the patient’s interest. He says that the medical professional has the position to negotiate while the patient often doesn't.

Since then, a couple of surveys were conducted to aid in the formulation of the GOF in 1996 and 2006 respectively. It was, however, withdrawn in 2007 when the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) decided that the GOF is anti-competitive and could potentially lead to price-fixing.

The withdrawal led to overcharging and rising cost of healthcare in Singapore. The government decided to bring back the surveys, believing in its importance especially in Singapore where about 80% of primary care is provided by the private sector.

Continuing your career as a locum offers flexibility, freedom, and control over your work-life balance. Click below to register as a locum GP or call us at 6258 6683 for any enquiries.

Register with us as a Locum Doctor

What Should Your Singapore Locum GP rates Be?

There are two ways you can set your Singapore locum GP rates.

  1. A fair rate that factors in the costs you will incur

When setting your rates using the first method, it’s easy to overlook some items like your professional membership fee, appraisal fee, accounting, and tax advice fee. As we have mentioned in our previous post, as a locum GP, you could acquire better income by setting yourself up as a Private Limited Company. It’s one of the many advantages of working as a locum doctor in Singapore. But to succeed in this field, you need to think of yourself as a business. Make sure that you set a rate that can cover all the costs of providing your medical service. 

  1. The market rate for someone with your level of experience

This method is harder because the latest published suggested rates are from 2010. The easiest way to do this is to ask your colleagues or fellow Singapore locum GPs in online forums. You could also ask accountants who have worked with sessional or locum GPs in Singapore.

Make sure, however, that the person you are asking has the necessary background and is in the position to know. Remember that rates are affected by many factors including the level of skills and amount of experience.

Other Important Details to Keep in Mind

With the above information, we hope that you’re more confident to calculate your locum GP rates. Still, we recommend that you don’t forget the following:

  • Read and agree to the full details of the Singapore Medical Registration Act. It’s too long to discuss its technicalities here, but if you want to succeed in this field, you need to understand its principles before you sign a locum GP contract.
  • As important as your rate is the terms under which you earn your rate. Some contracts have favorable terms that aren’t expressed in $ but are worth more.
  • Make all terms and conditions clear. This is especially true when it comes to the kind of services you are expected to provide and when, where, and how you shall expect the payment.
  • Learn the art of smart negotiation. It doesn’t matter if it takes place through email, telephone or in person. Having negotiation skills is as important as setting a competitive locum GP rate. Most doctors, especially those who have worked as a salary-based permanent employee in a practice, have little to no negotiation skills. It can be overwhelming, but as with most things in the medical profession, it is a skill that can be learned.
  • Singapore locum rates are not as flexible as the rates paid to freelancers in other fields, but some advice to other freelancers is still highly valuable to you. For example, this guide to setting and negotiating freelance rates by Lifehacker contains some great tips.

Setting a competitive rate when working as a locum GP in Singapore is crucial to your career. Use the above information and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a good locum doctor.

Related articles that might interest you:

How to Survive as a New Locum GP

6 Signs You Are Ready To Be a Locum GP

Top Recommended Online Courses for GPs

4 Advantages of Working as a Locum Doctor

What Makes a Good Locum Doctor? 6 Must-Have Qualities

Understanding Tort of Negligence as a Medical Professional Freelancer

Freelancing and Illness: What Can You Do?

5 Complaint Resolution Best Practices for Medical Freelancers

Your Do's and Don'ts Checklist to Get Started as a Freelancer

Where to Find a Support Network for Locum GPs

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Topics: Freelancing

Friends of CaregiverAsia

Written by Friends of CaregiverAsia

Friends of CaregiverAsia are accomplished professionals in their fields as well as dedicated caregivers. When not busy making a positive impact on their surroundings, friends of CGA gratify others with their insightful and heartwarming stories.