The advantages of working as a locum doctor can’t be denied. Quite a number of General Practitioners (GP) are now choosing to work as locum rather than remaining a partner or staying in a salaried role.
Locum practice is an excellent alternative to a permanent position. It can also serve as a source of additional income if you take on part time locum shifts. As a locum GP, you will cover manpower shortage when demands for doctors are high. There are also opportunities for long-term work such as a maternity leave cover.
Although the responsibilities are generally the same as that of a permanent employee, there are advantages in working as a locum GP.
1. Better Work-Life Balance
A survey by GP Online and Medeconomics uncovered that a big percentage of GPs stopped practising full time due to “financial reasons, to enjoy a better work-life balance or for flexibility”.
For most health professionals, passion led them to a career in medicine. To be able to do your work with flying colors, you must set aside time for a passion project outside medicine to divert your energies. This will help you recharge so you can return to work feeling refreshed and with much enthusiasm.
GPs lead a busy life. You see patients, maintain their records, keep yourself updated about the most recent medical developments and many other tasks. Being a locum GP allows you to take some time off from the pressures of medical work. This is because you can choose what responsibilities to take on and how much. You can say no to offers that don’t appeal to you. If you’re a permanent employee, that would be impossible to do.
Wondered about becoming a locum doctor? 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.
2. Flexible Work Hours
GPs often struggle with burnout issues. That’s why when Dr. Clare Gerada opened the GP Health Service, she expected a wave of GPs seeking treatment and advice. The full time hours in the medical profession is one of the most common sources of stress. While a full time job for most employees means working 40 hours per week, GPs often work more than 80 hours including all the hours you’re available on call.
Having a flexible schedule and being able to work part time are two ways to remedy the prevalent burnout. One of the advantages of working as a locum GP is being able to choose what hours you spend working and what hours you spend with your family.
3. More Experience and Larger Network
As a locum GP, you will be able to work in various practices, work closely with different GPs, and meet patients from all walks of life. This gives you more opportunities to build professional relationships and acquire more skills which translate to a better career.
Being a locum GP is like running your own private business. You need to see yourself as a brand that sells a service. This means you need to have the skills necessary in running a business. You need to have a working knowledge of accounting, finance, and business management (we will cover tax and financial concerns of a locum doctor in articles to come). Other skills necessary are self-confidence, independence, and organizational skills. Being a locum GP, therefore, prepares you to become an exceptional GP whether you want to stay locum or become a partner in a practice.
4. Better Income
Salaried GPs are not paid enough and partner GPs have impossible workloads, according to a report by the Daily Mail. The same report revealed that average pay for locums increased by 6% while full time GP earnings declined by 2%.
One of the most desirable advantages of working as a locum GP is the ability to control your income. Unlike being a salaried GP where you know how much exactly you will earn based on the time you put in, working as a locum gives you the opportunity to earn more by working more or choosing hospitals that pay more.
Additionally, when you work as a locum GP, you can set yourself up as a Private Limited Company (PLC) and work as a contractor. As you are a business, some of your expenses may be a tax-deductible expense and therefore, can be offset against your bottom line.
The advantages of working as a locum GP mentioned above are just a few of the reasons you should consider this practice. Working as a locum doctor isn’t a walk in the park, but it can also be rewarding. It may seem overwhelming initially, but once you get the hang of it, you will see that the benefits far outweigh the hassle.
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