Why choose locum consultant jobs?

Why choose locum consultant jobs?

Advice and Opinion

Why choose locum consultant jobs?

After gaining enough experience to work at a consultant level, you may crave more freedom and greater rewards from your career as a doctor. A permanent role may offer plenty of stability, but working the same shift patterns in the same clinic or hospital can get repetitive and restrictive. Taking on locum consultant jobs allows you to explore new settings and expand your knowledge of medicine even further, whilst enjoying impressive financial rewards. Even at consultant level, there are so many ways to continue advancing and developing your career.

The benefits of working as a locum consultant

A locum doctor is one that doesn’t work permanently in one location. You can choose to accept last-minute, emergency placements to cover unexpected sickness or staff shortages, or be contracted out on a longer basis to cover cases such as long-term sickness, maternity leave or unfilled vacancies. You’ll do the same work as a permanent doctor but have lots more variety around where and how often you work.

Locum consultants can accept short-term positions in different locations, which allow them to travel whilst earning a living. At Global Medics we offer locum shifts at a variety of trusts and health boards across the UK, and there are huge volumes of three, six and 12-month contracts available. This means our locums can stay with the same trust or health board for years to come if they choose.

What you earn as a locum consultant could be significantly higher than the salary of a permanent role. This figure varies considerably due to factors such as:

  • The Trust, health board or private medical company you’ll be working at
  • The location
  • How urgently the role needs to be filled
  • Your specialty
  • The experience and skill level required in the role
  • The type of shift – unsocial hours, defined within the NHS as 8pm-6am Monday to Friday and any time on weekends and public holidays, can pay more than a weekday shift.
Locum consultant walking alongside colleagues
Progressing your career through locum consultant work

You may have preconceptions that locum work limits your opportunities for career progression. Locum consultant work allows you to explore new areas of your career without worry or commitment. 

Locum work also gives you the opportunity to work alongside medical professionals who are pioneering new fields of medicine. For example, a cardiology doctor could accept a short-term locum position within a team that are trialling new methods of surgery or treatment. Or a general psychiatry doctor could choose to pick up locum shifts in a more specialised setting, such as an eating disorder clinic, to broaden their understanding further.

When weighing up permanent versus locum roles, consultants can often be worried about job security. Locum consultant doctors actually enjoy significant job security in the UK owing to the high demand across the UK and the continuity of work.

More than half (52%) of advertised consultant physician posts in England and Wales went unfilled in 20211. This is the highest rate since records began in 2008 and so locum consultant doctors are in great demand across the UK, particularly in the NHS. Hospitals and clinics are always in need of experienced medical professionals to cover gaps in their workforce.

Why doctors have job security working as locum consultants in the UK

Shortage of Consultants

The shortage of consultants in the NHS is being compounded by experienced doctors residing internationally facing challenges with providing flexible services when obtaining the necessary right to work, local documentation and licensing requirements. This high demand ensures that there will always be job opportunities for locum consultant doctors within the UK.


Continuity of Work

In terms of continuity of work, locum consultant doctors are called upon to cover short-term gaps in the workforce, however they are typically required to cover longer periods of absence. This is to step in where there are unfilled vacancies and provide the continuity of care required to make sure patients receive streamlined care. Covering these longer-term positions means that locum consultant doctors can build up a long-term relationship with a hospital or clinic, which can lead to more job security in the future.

There are lots of opportunities for medical professionals to take on locum consultant work, including positions such as:

  • General or acute medicine consultant
  • Consultant gastroenterologist
  • Microbiology consultant
  • Haematology consultant
  • Oncology consultant
  • Consultant radiologist
  • Urology consultant
  • Ophthalmology consultant
  • Consultant anaesthetist
  • Consultant forensic psychiatrist
  • CAMHS consultant

Find a locum consultant role with Global Medics

If you’re looking for locum doctor consultant jobs, Global Medics can help. Some of the key benefits of locum consultant work include flexibility and opportunities to earn more than working in a permanent role. Locum roles also allow for job security and career progression within your speciality.

We work with candidates to find roles across the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. When registered with Global Medics, you’ll get access to 24/7 support, one-to-one advice and free CPD training through our Revalidation scheme. Plus, we offer competitive rates and fast payments, alongside flexible shifts to support your lifestyle.

Is locum consultant work something that you’re interested in? Find your ideal locum consultant role with Global Medics right here.


1. The BMJ. 2022. Record number of consultant physician jobs are unfilled, census shows. [Online]. [March 2023]. Available from: https://www.bmj.com/content/378/bmj.o1782

Latest UK Consultant Jobs