If you’re considering locum work after completing your medical studies, you’re not alone. A huge number of medical professionals including many radiologists choose locum work every year. The ever increasing demand for radiologists means that there are locum radiology jobs all over the UK. So, why are so many doctors choosing this route and why could a locum radiology job give your career a boost? We’re explaining the benefits of going locum, as well as some useful advice on how to get started with your first locum job.

Why choose locum work?

Locum work offers much more flexibility than a permanent role and offers you the chance to gain experience in different hospitals. As you’re at the beginning of your medical career, this gives you the opportunity to work in another geographical region and gain experience using the different PACS reporting systems.

A common concern is that locum work won’t provide structure to your working life. However, there are lots of options to choose from including the choice of taking on a long or short-term locum post either full or part time, or you might prefer the flexibility of ad-hoc and weekend shifts.

When speaking to radiologists about why they choose locum work, the rates of pay is consistently mentioned as an advantage. As well as being able to fit their work around their lifestyle and travels, the great rates of pay mean that they’re able to work fewer hours and achieve a better work life balance.

Your skills are in high demand and recent studies show that there are no signs of this slowing down, with the shortage of radiologists expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. Although this isn’t a positive statistic, it does mean that you can expect a steady flow of work and you can be confident that we can find a suitable role wherever you are in the UK. Working with Athona you’ll be able to take advantage of our strong links/connections with NHS Trusts all over the UK and your personal recruitment consultant will take time to get to know you and your requirements.

How to get started with locum work

If you’re interested in a locum radiology job, it couldn’t be easier to get started. Once you’ve registered your interest in a specific role or with our recruitment team, we’ll guide you through the registration and compliance process. Then, your dedicated recruitment consultant will get to work identifying exactly the type of roles you’re looking for. We’ll keep in regular contact to ensure you’re happy in your post and to update you on upcoming available jobs that match your requirements.

If you’re interested in finding out more, speak to one of the Radiology team on 01277 217777, or view our current roles.

What about completing your appraisal?

Revalidation and appraisals can be daunting when you’re stepping away from a substantive post. When you register with Athona and we become your designated body, you’ll have the invaluable support of Athona’s revalidation and appraisal team. Our doctors benefit from our years’ of experience and our full suite of services which includes:

  • Annual appraisal with an experienced appraiser
  • Ongoing revalidation support
  • Responsible Officer’s appraisal review
  • 360 feedback
  • Responsible Officer’s ongoing support and advice
  • Section 12 references

If you want to find out more about what support to expect, Athona’s Head of Quality and Compliance recently contributed to the NHS’s guide which is available on the NHS website.

Getting paid

Starting locum work doesn’t have to mean that you’ll have a heap of paperwork to deal with as there are generally three different options for payment, these are:

Limited company

If you decide to be paid in this way you’ll need to set up your own company and payments will then be made to the company. Depending on whether you’re working for the NHS or private sector or how your placement falls with the IR35 legislation, tax and NI may be deducted and paid to HMRC on your behalf. You will have full responsibility for submitting your end of year accounts which may require the assistance of an accountant.

Umbrella company

An Umbrella company can manage your tax and NI for a small fee. This type of payment method is usually recommended for doctors that work for multiple agencies.


This may be a more familiar way to get paid, as you will be paid as though you were an employee of the recruitment agency. Your tax and NI contributions will be deducted and paid to HMRC on your behalf.

If you’re not sure which method is most suitable for you, read more here or your recruitment consultant can advise you depending on your personal situation.

Whether you’re thinking of taking a year out of full-time employment, or if you’re open to working in different locations, a locum radiology job could be the right option for you. 

View our latest Radiology posts here.