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Locum pharmacy rates rise across the UK but big regional variations persist, survey reveals

Locate a Locum analysis finds average hourly locum rates are up almost 14% on last year, matching a trend for the past three years

Locum pharmacists across the UK are earning around 14 percent more than last year, according to a detailed rates analysis compiled by award-winning online shift booking platform Locate a Locum, which connects locum pharmacists with pharmacies right across the country.

Post-covid locum pharmacist rates remain at an all-time high because of a variety of internal and external factors, including continued strong local and regional demand for pharmacist services, which is more acute in some areas, and some persistent last-minute or unplanned booking activity among pharmacies.  

Locate a Locum does not set rates – the platform assists in recording the rate agreed directly between the pharmacist and the locum at the time which reflects the prevailing market conditions.

The study is based on an analysis of more than 30,000 locum pharmacist shifts booked on the Locate a Locum platform between April 1 and June 30 this year and compared with the same period in 2021.

“Locum pharmacy rates are a hot topic within the industry and this interest looks likely to continue, particularly given our latest analysis of rising prices and our assessment that if current market conditions persist, they will continue to increase into 2023,” said Locate a Locum founder and chief executive Jonathan Clarke.

“What is vitally important, however, is that that our study, which is based on an analysis of more than 30,000 pharmacist shifts booked on the Locate a Locum platform, provides real-time and accurate data that delivers in helping to set fair rates for the sector so that everyone – employers and locums – can benefit.”

Its latest Rates Study for Employers shows that in the year to end-June 2022, locum pharmacists across the UK were paid around £37.49 per hour, an increase of £4.81, or 14 percent, on the average rate paid at same period last year.

However, there remain big regional differences in terms of the average hourly rate paid and the increase applied across the UK.

In Wales, for example, the average rate paid rose by over 30 percent from £28.72 per hour to £37.93, an increase of £9.21 per hour.

In Northern Ireland, the average hourly rate increased by £5.52 to an overall £27.47, while in Scotland locum pharmacists were paid an average of £48.86 per hour, an increase of £3.97 on the previous year.

Locate a Locum’s Jonathan Clarke acknowledges that the rapid and sometimes volatile movement in rates in recent years had presented challenges for the industry:

“What is vitally important is reliable information and as the industry’s leading locum booking platform, we are pleased to provide regular comprehensive data and analysis which shows exactly what is happening in the marketplace in a trusted, transparent way and which is useful for everyone operating within the pharmacy sector at any point in time.”

Across all UK cities, locums in Inverness, Scotland were paid the highest rate at £54.11 per hour while those in Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland were paid the least at £26.61 per hour. Among the average rate of £36.95 paid in England, Plymouth came out on top at £42.46 per hour while those in Leicester were paid £28.21.

Locum pharmacists in Manchester and London were paid £31.23 and £34.75 per hour, respectively.

Locum a Locum’s award-winning management platform helps pharmacies grow, manage and pay locums in a cost-effective and efficient way, providing detailed access to data on market and application rates to inform forward planning and decision-making.

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Last Updated: 12-Sep-2022