For dentists who work in a locum capacity, the last year has proved highly fruitful. Compared to previous years, the number of locum positions available is now at a record-high. The current shortage of locum dentists has created a very strong market for professionals, with high pay rates available, and sometimes even counter offers are negotiated for increased benefits. What’s more, day rates have become very common, so rather than remuneration for the number of UDAs completed, professionals can command a set amount per day regardless of productivity and type of patients seen.
Typically, a locum dentist can expect to receive £350-£450 a day, depending on the location and accessibility of the practice they go to. Dental corporates and practices in rural areas will pay towards the top end of that, while those just outside and easily commutable from London, for example, will offer less. Most locum contracts also incorporate travelling or accommodation expenses of around £20-£30 a day, with some very rural businesses organising and covering hotel bills completely. Employers are definitely going the extra mile to encourage locum workers at the moment, making it a very appealing pathway.
Many different people are suited to locum work, including those between permanent positions, those working part-time on a permanent basis, or those who desire more flexibility in their working weeks. Some might also be interested if they decide to undertake postgraduate training and education such as a Masters degree, and wish to work around their studies. Alternatively, locum placements are the perfect way to try working with a practice and judge whether it is the right fit for a permanent position.
For those looking to start working as a locum dentist, there are a few things you can do in preparation to ensure that new positions are found and begun quickly and efficiently:
- GDC certificate
- Paperwork with performer number
- Proof of indemnity insurance
- CPD certificates
- Recent DBS (preferably from within the last 12 months)
- Clinical references from past principals and colleagues
- Proof of ability to work in the UK (passport)
- Invoice template
It is also necessary to know your electronic data interchange (EDI) PIN number – this is something many forget, but will be required to put you into the system for your new role. This can be found in your previous (or current) practice on your UDA claims paperwork. You are always advised to be careful when giving your PIN number out, so it’s best to only provide it once a vacancy agreement has been finalised.
As with many administrative tasks in dentistry, speed is of the essence, and having all this documentation ready can make a huge difference. The faster the process the quicker you will find locum work and the sooner you start earning money.
It’s also important to be as flexible as you can when looking for locum work. This is with regards to hours and days available, as well as location and travelling away from home. While understandably not always possible, these will widen the search criteria and a vacancy is sure to be found rapidly.
Get it in writing
If you decide to offer your services on a locum basis, it’s important that the terms of work are confirmed in writing by the practice or agency before you start in order to avoid any potential problems. This should include pay and whether the suggested amount is target-based, in which case you need to know what happens in the case of under- and over-performance. You should consider the remuneration system for private dentistry delivered, whether you pay towards lab bills and what limitations there are on your expenses. Finally, it’s also beneficial to confirm how often you will be paid (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) as well as the date of the transfer.
It is not uncommon now for locum dentists not to be offered a formal written contract, but rather a verbal agreement is arranged. In this case, it remains important to cover the above points, and perhaps ask a colleague or an agency representative to accompany you as a witness to that conversation.
Despite the availability of locum roles in dentistry at the moment, it can be difficult to access them all when operating as an individual. Working alongside a specialist locum dentist agency, you’ll be exposed to a much greater variety of positions, with the added security that someone is looking for your next placement as your current one comes to an end.
At Dental Elite, we have years’ of experience in placing locum dentists within the right roles for them, while also understanding the protocols that need to be followed with different practices and corporates. We work hard to make sure you receive the best deal, with a wide network of connections to help us identify positions as soon as they become available.
For dentists looking for varied and flexible working experiences, locum roles can be the ideal solution. The current strong market presents the perfect time for professionals to find the work they are looking for, and we can help make the process as smooth and as enjoyable as possible.
Has this article made you think about the kind of work that is available at the moment? If so click here for locum dentist jobs.