Clinical Fellow or Locum Doctor… Which Should you Choose?

Jul 18, 2022.

Have you recently finished your Foundation Training and looking to make a decision about your next year? If you’ve decided against going straight back into further training posts, you may be weighing up a decision between applying for a Clinical Fellow position, a Trust Grade post, or working as a Locum for the year.

Our latest blog explores the pros and cons of both, which may help you decide which – Clinical Fellow / Trust Grade or Locum Doctor – is best for you.

Clinical Fellow and Trust Grade Roles

If you decide to take on a Clinical Fellowship, one of the first things you’ll notice is that it isn’t much different to your FY2 as they are designed to offer a similar job plan to the SHOs on the rota. As a non-training role, usually fixed for 6-12 months, it’s great if you want more experience in one specialty and you’ll be covering a mixture of clinics, wards, on-call shifts and other tasks (depending on your specialty).

Trust Grade roles are similar to Clinical Fellowship roles but they are usually service provision-type posts filling rota gaps. With either of these posts coming straight after your Foundation Training, you are likely to earn a salary ranging between £29,384 – £40,257.

You’ll have the benefits of a regular trust employee such as sick pay, as well as a guaranteed position for the time period you apply for. You may also have some flexibility to take study time away from your post, as there doesn’t tend to be any designated time for training or career development as part of these positions.

While taking a Clinical Fellow or Trust Grade position, it’s important to decide on a job you know you’ll be happy with. With the added security these positions provide you, they also come with notice periods of around 3 months.

Locum Work

If you choose the Locum route you can choose the periods of work of your choosing and you’ll pick up an hourly rate for the hours you work. You can work in a variety of departments, specialities and hospitals, or you can choose regular work in a hospital that suits you.

Due to the temporary nature of Locum work, you are reimbursed well for your flexibility. On average, you’ll earn around 3 times the amount of a trust grade post, although you won’t get benefits such as sick pay. This means that people often choose to work for 6-8 months, and take some time for themselves before going back in to training, or utilise the full year to clear off as much of their student debt as possible.

Which is best?

It really does come down to personal choice and what your main priorities are. Try to talk to as many colleagues as you can about what they chose and how it worked out for them. You can also talk to our dedicated Junior Doctors Team who can guide you further and tell you all about the vast range of roles available, both Direct and Locum.

Please get in touch and one of our team will get back to you straightaway.