Your Top 7 Locum Questions Answered

7 min | Medical Careers
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Cam Mutton

December 9, 2019

We Answer Your 7 Most Common Locum Questions  

Updated June 2021

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?   

locum work in australia


1. Is locum work for me?

There is plenty of Locum work and we can help you find the right location and hospital or practice to start your locum career. 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 about the locum role you’ll be covering and what’s expected of you. Our locum recruitment consultants will share all of that job detail with you.

Once in a locum role, be prepared to be adaptable and quick on your feet in various settings as required.

2. Where can I locum in Australia?

Locum work provides you with the flexibility to practice 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.

3. What rates can locum doctors earn?

This depends on your medical specialty and seniority – and sometimes even the location of the locum. Rates are determined by hospitals and health services employing the locum doctor.

To give you an idea, here are some approximate locum pay rates for various medical specialties:

  • Locum O&G Registrars can earn between $115 - $200 per hour

  • Locum GPs between $1,400 - $2,800 per day

  • Locum Consultant Psychiatrists, Locum Consultant Physicians, Locum Emergency Medicine Physicians, and Locum O&G Consultants can expect to earn $2,000 per day, and sometimes more, in most states.

  • Outside of Sydney, Locum Psychiatry Registrars earn between $100 to $150 per hour.

  • Within Sydney, a Locum Psychiatrist is more likely to encounter VMO hourly rates, typically between $240 to $260 per hour.

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 locum contracts, 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 medical recruitment consultant, who will know which healthcare providers will consider interstate locum doctors and provide travel allowances.

5. How much time do I have to commit to a locum?

The length of locum contact 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 locum roles match your criteria, so you can easily pick your favourite locum contract.

6. How flexible are locum roles; will I get any free time to explore?

This depends on the length of your locum and work roster, but absolutely!

Your Wavelength recruitment consultant will let you know what to expect from the locum on-call roster, but outside of 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.

7. How do I secure my next locum?

Whatever your reasons for starting locum work, we’re confident we can find the perfect locum job for you. Register your details with us and a Wavelength recruitment consultant, who is an expert in your medical specialty, will be in touch.


We don't advertise all locum roles on our website as some are filled so quickly, often within 30 minutes! So, don't miss out, register with us today to be the first to hear about all the latest locum job opportunities.

Take a look at the locum jobs we currently have available by searching our current locum jobs here.

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