During my FY3 year I did a locum job in general medicine Northern Ireland at both Craigavon Area Hospital and Daisy Hill hospital.

I had never visited Northern Ireland before and had studied/completed foundation years in England. I decided to do this as the job gave me experience in a range of medical specialties which I wanted to do before commencing IMT training.

The job was advertised through a locum agency.

Advantages

  • Monday to Friday 9-5pm work, no on-calls unless you choose them
  • Small hospitals so you get to know everyone and the systems quickly
  • Opportunity to experience a variety of different specialties
  • Flexibility; no more worrying if your leave will be accepted or not
  • Often higher locum rates compared to the rest of the UK
  • Regular work – a lot of “long-term” locums
  • Experience a new place with beautiful countryside

Disadvantages

  • Away from family/ friends
  • Paper notes and paper prescribing – for me this was completely different to my foundation jobs where everything was electronic
  • It took a few days after my first shift for me to gain a log in; if you can, try and arrange for log-ins to be sorted before you arrive (this is directly with the hospital, not the locum agency)
  • No sick pay and with the pandemic you may have to isolate by yourself away from your home comforts

Things to consider

  • It’s definitely worthwhile taking the ferry across so that you have a car on the other side; public transport isn’t the best. If you get the overnight ferry make sure you book a cabin so you can get some rest. The locum agency should pay the cost of the ferry.
  • The hospital accommodation isn’t ideal, especially if you are staying long-term. I’d recommend renting instead.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Northern Ireland and would recommend it to anyone who is wanting regular medical locum work.

Article written by Dr Alice Southwell 25/11/20