Using a locum pharmacist agency? Is it worth it?
If you own or manage a pharmacy – you must have asked the question before?
Today it is all about locum cover
Why would a pharmacy need a locum pharmacist? How do you source a locum pharmacist? Where does Locate a Locum come in and does using a locum bring benefits to your pharmacy?
Why would a pharmacy ever need or book a locum?
Sooner or later everyone that owns or manages a pharmacy will be in need of a locum pharmacist. Whether it’s because the regular pharmacist is sick, or they have decided to take themselves off to sunny Spain for a few weeks. Many pharmacy veterans will agree:
‘You never know when emergencies can happen and just as you are ready to jet off on holiday you may be in a position of needing a locum pharmacist.’
It’s also worth pointing out that it’s not just absences or emergencies where locums are used in pharmacies. Some pharmacies also use locums to double down on their enhanced services. For example, doing some nursing home visits or even just scheduling in MUR's. This can bring in a lot more income for the pharmacy, so it’s always worth considering hiring a locum for perhaps even one day a week as extra cover.
How do you source a Locum?
Traditionally there has been two methods of managing locum pharmacist cover available to pharmacies:
Grow your own Locum Bank
By attending networking events and collecting locum pharmacist cards you can grow your own bank of locums that may be available for cover. When a gap or shift arises then it is usually phoning, emailing or texting locums to see who is available. The benefit of that is no up-front costs to handle, however additional stress can be placed on pharmacies especially when it comes to covering urgent locum requests such as emergency sickness.
There is also the chance that you may not be successful in finding cover and some pharmacies have incurred large fines from the NHS for not fulfilling their contract.
Use a Locum Pharmacy Agency
Historically Pharmacies have relied on locum agencies to assist them with their locum pharmacist cover. Locum Agencies can have a larger locum bank than pharmacies and as such the chances of covering a locum request is greatly improved. Locum agencies can assist with all the compliance aspects of hiring a locum such as determining the locum pharmacists right to work. The downside of this convenience is the upfront costs to pharmacies and pharmacies can pay anywhere from £20-30 for assistance with a single locum day for cover. There is also limited information as to the locum may be and sometimes it can be pot luck if the pharmacist will perform a good job.
Is there another solution?
What if your pharmacy does not have the resources to manage locum pharmacist cover or the monetary funds to outsource to a locum agency?
Locate a Locum is an online platform and mobile app that directly connects your pharmacy to locum pharmacists in the area. As of January 2018, there are over 8000 pharmacies and 4000 locums using the platform.
Simply post a shift and the locums within the area will be notified. When a locum applies for a shift, you can review their application and accept them for the shift. Locate a Locum fully automates the matching of pharmacists to pharmacies and because of this we do it faster, more efficiently and reliably than any other locum provider on the market.
Emergencies? We can get you cover sorted within seconds.
Long term absences? We have a range of locum options to best suit your needs.
Join over 8000 pharmacies across the UK benefitting from the use of technology to manage their locum pharmacists.