Finding work as a locum doctor

The Health and Social Care Information Centre reported that on average the number of locum doctors working for the National Health Service (NHS) in 2014 was over 2,350 per month.

Along with the fact that recruitment agencies such as ID Medical provide the NHS with more than 3 million hours of work every year there appears to be great demand for locum workers.

For more information on how to secure your next contract, read our guide to finding work as a locum doctor. You may also find our becoming a locum doctor and accountants for locums pages useful.

Working as a locum for the NHS

The NHS jobs website advertises approximately 20,000 vacancies every month, many of which are for locum doctors. This is a great first point of call when looking for your next role.

Registering with NHS Professionals (NHSP) is also a great place to start if you would like to work as a locum doctor for the NHS. NHSP is owned by the Secretary State for Health and aims at reducing the amount that is spent by the NHS on expensive agency staff by providing a bank of temporary locum staff to use as an alternative when needed.

Through the NHSP website you can register as a locum doctor to work for the hospital trusts that are convenient to you. 

Working as a locum for private hospitals

There are no specific regulations required to locum for a private hospital, although specialised doctors and consultants tend to be more in demand. To find locum work in private hospitals there are many recruitment agencies which advertise positions, such as:

  • Coyle Medical, who provide roles in private hospitals for qualified professionals that have worked in UK hospitals for at least two years. Positions are available at all levels from Junior House Officers to Consultants.
  • Merco have vacancies for short and long term positions in private hospitals. The majority of the roles available are for Resident Medical Officers, Trauma Doctors and Consultants. 
  • MedicsPro are a medical recruitment agency that supplies locum doctors, nurses and radiographers to private healthcare providers across the UK, as well as to the NHS.

Finding work as a locum GP

The Information Services Division Scotland found that 89% of the practices surveyed had used the services of a locum or seasonal General Practitioner between January 2012 and January 2013.

There are substantial opportunities for locum GPs to fill in for doctors on sick leave or on longer contracts to cover sabbatical or maternity leave. 

Naturally, if you would like to work as a locum GP the best place to start is by contacting local medical centres and doctors’ surgeries to let them know that you are available. Specialist job boards such as GP Jobs may also be a useful place to begin.

Another way to find work as a locum GP would be to attend sessional GP groups for networking opportunities. These groups are usually regional and could also provide advice and information on industry knowledge and the latest industry news.

Specialist recruitment agencies

For help finding locum work in your area you may find the specialist recruitment agencies below useful:

  • Medacs Healthcare has over 20 years’ experience providing temporary and locum medical staff. They specialise in all types of medical recruitment, from NHS positions to prison healthcare.
  • Agenda Recruitment Medical Locums specialise in placing skilled medical professionals in both public and private locum healthcare positions across the UK.
  • ID Medical was established in 2002 and provides medical locum staff to NHS and private sectors throughout the UK.
  • A&E Agency specialise in recruitment for Accident and Emergency departments in NHS, prison services and private sector establishments nationwide.

If you are considering becoming a locum doctor you may find the following pages useful:

If you have any questions about going Limited or working as a locum doctor then our New business team will be happy to help you. Please get in contact on 01442 275789 or email