Current locum times

During a routine “friends get together”, myself and several locum pharmacists were discussing various issues affecting the world of pharmacy locums. Now, it’s not often we have such an intellectual and meaningful discussion and given the nature of our discussions, we felt it might be beneficial to others to share our views!

A career as a locum pharmacist 15 years ago was very much different to working as a locum pharmacist in 2011. Being a locum pharmacist was deemed to be the sensible choice for all young, free and upcoming pharmacists. Why would any pharmacist want to get tied into a full time contract working the 9-5 life, especially if you was young, free and single with no commitments ? It just did not make sense. Furthermore, the brilliant pharmacy locum agencies ensured you were well looked after and there were always other locum pharmacists on handed for advice.

The pharmacy locum world of then offered excellent benefits. Benefits as a locum pharmacist which now seem truly lost. You could have your pick of pharmacy locum work for any given date. Pharmacy locum agencies had an abundance of work. Pharmacy agencies worked with you and for you. More importantly, each pharmacy locum agency respected you as a locum pharmacist and respected fellow pharmacy locum agencies as colleagues. Locum pharmacists in conjunction with pharmacist locum agencies would influence the rate. Ultimately, it was the pharmacist and the agency that held the cards. Locum pharmacists would hold out for the rate they wanted. It was not about greed or trying to get ‘as much as possible’. Simply put if it wasn’t what you wanted you could say no, knowing full well you would get your rate from that company if not another. Mileage. Mileage was always paid in full. This was a given. Furthermore, dependant on the individual locum pharmacists negotiation skills, working for “plus 1” or “plus 2” had almost become the norm. Locum pharmacy agencies would work hard to retain the offering of “pluses”.

And now, in 2011 it has all changed. Pharmacy locum agencies no longer hold the dealer card. Its in the firm clasp of the employers. Pharmacy locum agencies are trying to get locum pharmacists to work at the lowest rate possible. Done in the hope of ‘being on the right side’ of the employers to encourage future bookings. Individual locum pharmacists are compounding the situation further by reducing their rates. This is in the hope of securing some regular work. Because if they don’t take it at a reduced rate, there will be another locum pharmacist that will.

Mileage? Plus ones and twos? Guess these will be a thing of the good ol’ days of working as a locum pharmacist.

locum pharmacist

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