The ins and outs of locum work in Australia
Your Top 7 questions answered
Whether your goal is to boost your income for a year or explore more of Australia while being paid, locum work is an exciting prospect. But how does it really work?
Wavelength Recruitment consultant and Psychiatry Locum Specialist Camilla Mutton provides her answers to our top 7 most frequently asked locum questions.
Question 1: Is locuming for me?
There’s plenty of Locum work and we can help you find the right location and hospital or practice. But flexibility is the name of the game.
As a locum doctor, hospitals and health services will be incredibly grateful to have you, either helping to fill a gap of annual leave or cover while they recruit a permanent doctor.
We always encourage our healthcare providers to provide as much information as possible on the locum role you’ll be covering and what’s expected of you. But be prepared to be adaptable and quick on your feet in various settings as required.
Question 2: Where can I locum?
You can locum anywhere in Australia. We work with healthcare providers in every State and Territory, from Broome to Albany, Darwin to Alice Springs, Adelaide to Melbourne, Hobart to Launceston, Canberra to Sydney, Coffs Harbour to Byron and Brisbane to Cairns.
Locum doctors are in demand in some locations more than others, but generally you really can locum just about anywhere in metro, regional or rural Australia.
Question 3: What can I earn?
This obviously depends on your medical specialty and seniority – and sometimes even the location of the locum. Rates are determined by the hospitals and health services.
To give you an idea, Paediatric Registrars can earn between $1,000 - $1,500 per day, GPs between $1,000 - $2,200 per day, Locum Consultant Psychiatrists, Consultant Physicians, ED and O&G Consultants can expect to earn $2,000 per day, and sometimes more, in most states. In Psychiatry outside of Sydney, Registrars earn between $100 to $150 per hour. In Sydney, a Psychiatrist is more likely to encounter VMO hourly rates, typically between $240 to $260.
Question 4: Will I have to pay for my own travel costs?
Not usually. Most hospitals and other healthcare providers offer travel and accommodation to locum doctors – all within reason. Don't forget, most are publicly funded or are not-for-profit organisations. You’ll sometimes be offered a hospital fleet car for after-hours use or a hire car.
There are some locations where these services are not provided. Most Sydney locums for example do not include accommodation, travel or a car. This can also be the case in Melbourne and Adelaide, where hospitals are ideally looking for local doctors.
It’s always worth asking your Wavelength recruiter, who’ll know which healthcare providers will consider interstate locums and provide travel allowances.
Question 5: How much time do I have to commit for a locum?
This is completely up to you. Healthcare providers have a range of locum needs, from one week to six months or more while waiting for a permanent doctor to be hired.
Ideally, having a minimum of two to four weeks or more of availability is preferred by healthcare providers so they know their patients are getting some continuity of care. But one week locum blocks do regularly pop up.
At the end of the day, you tell us what availability you have, and we'll let you know what roles match your criteria, so you can easily pick your favorite locum.
Question 6: Will I get any free time to explore?
This depends on the length of your locum and work roster, but absolutely!
Your Wavelength consultant will let you know what to expect from the locum on-call roster, but outside of your work commitments your free time is your own.
Charter a boat onto the Great Barrier Reef, hike up a mountain in Tasmania, sail out to Bremer Canyon to visit a local Orca pod in Western Australia, visit Crocodylus Park in the Northern Territory, or simply sunbathe on iconic Bondi Beach in Sydney.
A locum with Wavelength can literally take you anywhere.
Question 7: So how do I secure my next locum?
Whatever your reasons for starting locum work, we’re confident we can find a job for you.
Register with Wavelength today to discuss your Locum options.
Camilla Mutton is a Wavelength recruitment consultant placing candidates in consultant psychiatry roles across Australia and New Zealand.