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Locums earn less than GP partners think

From Dr Shanker Vijay, freelance GP (earning £75,000 a year)

I would like to state my annoyance at Dr John Couch's article How much are GPs really worth? (Finance, 8 February). He states that a GP locum costs £70 per hour, which equates to £131,000 per year for 36 hours a week.

He has made a crude mistake in this calculation. As a freelance (locum) GP, I get deeply frustrated by incorrect calculations on locum pay. Indeed, I am sure Dr Couch must be just as frustrated when the media state he is earning up to £250,000 per annum!

His calculations should have been based on 43 weeks per year (maximum) to compare with principals. He forgot to allow for annual leave (six weeks), bank holidays (two weeks) and study leave (one week). Hence a fair comparison calculation would be £108,000.

This still does not allow for sick leave, maternity leave and paternity leave (many principals do benefit from these in their partnership agreements).

In addition, locums have less job security and guaranteed work then principals.

Even basing a locum pay calculation on a 36-hour week is unfair.

Locums are often not paid for overrun time, admin time, CPD time and so on... so their 'paid' hours per week are usually less than 36. Locums often have higher expenses too.

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