Why locum doctors are on the rise in Australia

Within the Australian healthcare system we’re seeing more locum doctors – and rightly so. There’s great benefits for doctors, hospitals and patients.

Why locum works for doctors

As a doctor, the allure of the flexibility as a locum is a great incentive. The role enables doctors to have a work-life balance, choosing their own hours and/or opting to cover permanent staff when they go on leave or take ill instead of the usual brutal work schedule.

The travel aspect is attractive to younger doctors, as they get to see more within their career, however, when they eventually have life commitments such as sport, hobbies or a family, working as a locum doctor can interrupt that lifestyle.

The pay is typically higher than a permanent position, with some locum doctors earning up to $2000 a day.

How do hospitals benefit?

Locum doctors are beneficial for hospitals because they fill those spots that permanent staff have left if they resign or go to a different hospital or state. Instead of current staff taking on the responsibility of the departed doctor, the hospital can use a locum doctor in the meantime, until they find an adequate candidate to fill the spot permanently. Locums are favourable due to the fact they’re used to adapting to new environments, so slotting into a new hospital with unfamiliar staff and patients is not a problem, making them welcome at most hospitals. 

Why locum doctors suit patients

The patients benefit from seeing locum doctors for support, for a number of reasons. Locums typically have diverse skills and knowledge and provide great, holistic support. Locum doctors also provide the convenience factor – instead of finding a time to visit the local doctor, the locum comes to you, any time. This has become even more important post pandemic, where patients want to avoid the potential exposure risks of public clinics.

Being a locum doctor isn’t perfect

With the money sounding great, the flexibility a big bonus and reduced risk of burn out is important, there are some detractions to the locum life.

It can be isolating and unstable. As a locum, you get less of that peer support as well as the infrastructure and stability of more conventional employment.

In hospitals, there can be rivalries between locum doctors and permanent staff members, as locums are seen as claiming a higher financial gain without doing extra work at the hospital – such as teaching, being on-call or contributing to research. Because they’re not around for a long time, locums can be seen as fleeting staff, and permanent staff doing more work for less can sometimes be resentful.

Get advice

What’s your strategy? What do you want to achieve in life? What do you need to achieve your goals, from a personal and wealth perspective? The medical wealth experts at DocWealth can help you find the best way forward, and maximise the opportunity – contact us today for a no obligations discussion about where you’re at.

DocWealth are specialists in accounting, financial planning, investment and finance, investment and business for medical professionals.
We operate in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and throughout Australia. Managing partner Kym Nitschke is available for a free initial discussion about your situation. Call us on (08) 8379 9950 or send me an email.

– Kym Nitschke

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