Locum general practitioners are doctors who provide cover for other general practitioners. Their work involves the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illnesses.
To become a locum general practitioner, a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree is required. Entry onto such a course is highly competitive, with candidates requiring at least three A levels in scientific subjects and work experience in a healthcare environment. Following graduation, prospective locum general practitioners must undertake a two-year programme of general training, before undertaking specialist general practitioner training.
Locum general practitioners should be able to take in and draw on scientific facts and figures and make quick and clear decisions. They should have excellent communication skills, helping them to put their patients at ease, and should be able to work to high standards.
The majority of locum general practitioners work for the NHS. However, many combine their NHS work with private sector practice. In addition, locum general practitioners work for other organisations, such as the Armed Forces and the Prison Service. The number of locum general practitioners working in the UK has increased steadily in recent years. However, there is still a shortage of trained professionals willing to take on this role. Employment openings for locum general practitioners may be advertised in medical journals and through recruitment agencies.
Locum general practitioners are self-employed staff members and hold contracts. Their salaries vary considerably, according to the services they are required to provide and the way in which they provide them. Locum general practitioners can earn between £40,000 and £150,000 per annum, depending on their working hours and experience.