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Locum agency reveals 10 cities with highest hourly rate for pharmacists

Written by: Eliza Loukou & Valerie Fiore
Published on: 17 Nov 2022

The agency analysed more than 30,000 locum pharmacist shifts booked via its platform between April 1 and June 30 this year and compared these with the same period in 2021.

It found that locum pharmacists working in Inverness were paid the highest rate in UK, receiving an average of £54.11 per hour, it revealed yesterday (September 8).

Locums in Dumfries followed closely, receiving an average of £51.34 per hour. Pharmacies in Perth paid their locums an average of £49.30 an hour, while locums in Dundee secured an average hourly rate of £49.17.

Meanwhile, locum pharmacists in Derry, Northern Ireland, received the lowest average rate at just £26.61 an hour, according to Locate a Locum.

Locums based in London took home an average of £34.75 per hour in the two-month period analysed by Locate a Locum. 

Hover over the bars on the graph below to find out the average locum rate pharmacists earned in each city between April and July.


Regional differences

Locate a Locum’s rate averaged at £37.49 across the UK between April and July 2022, a 14% increase on the same period last year, according to the agency’s analysis.

Founder and chief executive Jonathan Clarke estimated that “if current market conditions persist, [rates] will continue to increase into 2023”.

Read more: Locum pharmacist rate woes: how much are they getting for shifts?

However, the study highlighted “big regional differences” in how much locum pharmacists were paid.

Scotland recorded the highest national average, with locums receiving £48.86 per hour. Wales was next at £37.93, followed by England at £36.95. Northern Ireland came in last, with an average hourly locum rate of £27.47.


Nurture pays off


An anonymous pharmacy owner in the north of Scotland told C+D that although they sometimes bring in a locum on Saturdays, their pharmacy does not generally need to rely on locum cover as they have “a conveyor belt of pharmacists willing to carry on working for [the] company”.

They told C+D this is down to having “encouraged, trained [and] nurtured” their pharmacists from when they were in school, all the way through university and pre-registration training.

“We’ve created a great working placement [for pharmacists] to thrive in, and to really develop their careers,” the owner told C+D.

They acknowledged that “some people are in difficult positions because pharmacists have left [community pharmacy] to go into other jobs or primary care”.

But the pharmacy owner does not “have too much sympathy” for contractors who “complain about locum prices or the shortage of locums” if they have not taken on trainee pharmacists or “encouraged young people in the profession”, they said.

“A lot of people could have [done] more in the past,” they added.

With many contractors lamenting that pharmacist roles are difficult to fill, and worries over “rapidly-inflating locum rates”, C+D revealed earlier this week (September 5) why so many newly qualified pharmacists are turning to locuming instead.