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How to set your rates as a locum

Dr Sian Mew advises

Having to negotiate your fee as a locum can be daunting, but it’s important to get it right. It’s vital that you are paid fairly and that costs such as inflated medical indemnity fees, use of your own business equipment, accountancy fees, travel, and the upkeep of your medical supplies are taken care of. As a locum, you are not paid for holiday, sickness or study leave either. On the other hand, bear in mind that fees vary greatly with supply and demand.

Ask other locums for your area’s ‘going rate’, then adjust according to your experience and qualifications. Perhaps initially, it’s more important to just get some work and to be comfortable doing that work. You can alter your fee structure later – once you’re established, you’ll find many practices will pay more for locums they know and trust.

You can structure your fee in several ways, either using a time-based approach (a fee is agreed for a specified duration, and extra time worked will incur further charges) or a workload-based approach (a fee is agreed for a set amount of work, irrespective of how long it takes).

Rates for on-call work are usually higher as it can be more onerous or involve increased medicolegal risk.

They can also include a cancellation fee and a late payment fee.

Once the fee is agreed, send a booking confirmation along with your terms and conditions so that you are all on the same page.

Dr Sian Mew is a GP in Dorset and co-founder of Locum Organiser

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