My life as a locum paramedic

20 Aug 11:00 by David Cranmer


Charlie Ballam | My life as a locum paramedic

Can you give a brief outline of your career to date?
I qualified as a paramedic in 2009 and worked full time for the NHS for 2 years in Dorset. I then moved to Australia for a year and a half, where I worked as a remote area medic. Upon my return to the UK, I trained as an Offshore Medic and split my work between offshore deployments and ambulance work (both NHS and private). The last year has seen me working as a locum paramedic in the south with Medic Now, split between working on RRV’s or DCA’s.
Why did you decide to become a locum paramedic?
After my time down under, I wanted to maintain a similar work life balance and found that the flexibility I achieved through private ambulance work was far greater than that of being full or part time in the NHS. When I had the opportunity to work as a locum paramedic, the work-life balance was enhanced further as the home – base distance was considerably shorter. As an independent contractor, I also feel that I’m more in charge of when, where and how I work – in essence, being my own boss.
What are the benefits of being a locum paramedic?
One main aim was to achieve a better work-life balance and be able to choose when I worked, which being a locum paramedic has enabled me to do. I’m also able to do daily commutes to work as opposed to staying away for 3 or 4 shifts per week. It’s also enabled me to be self-employed which gives me more control over my finances. There’s also the chance to take on other contracts/employment as you are not tied into a long term contract.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to become a locum paramedic?
It’s a good idea to look at where you might be able to gain work locally and which trusts are using agency staff. Working for a reputable company which have been established for a while is also key to ensuring you have as much stability as possible in this style of working. I’m fortunate to have a great team who support me and can be easily contacted around the clock. It’s a good idea to ensure you keep your portfolio current, as there isn’t the same regularity than in NHS employment. Finally, buy a good diary as time management and planning is essential!



Jenny Conway | My life as a locum paramedic practitioner

Can you give a brief outline of your career to date?
My ambulance career started in 2002 when I joined the Scottish ambulance service working on their patient transport service. I then joined Warwickshire ambulance service in 2003 after gaining a position as a trainee technician. I went to Coventry University and qualified as a paramedic in 2006. In 2008 I passed selection to work on the Warwickshire Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, where I still work today as a Critical Care Paramedic.
Why did you decide to become a locum paramedic?
As my main work is trauma based I wanted to keep up my medical skills and found that working as a locum I could do this and be paid an appropriate rate too. I joined Medic now in 2014 and have contracts for both front line ambulance work and primary care work. As a locum I can pick and choose when I work and for whom. My work life balance is fantastic, I sleep better, have more time to do the things I want and I am far less stressed and burnt out than when I worked for an ambulance service. The ability to work alongside the staff of the service you are working for means they get to know you and you, them. I have found this means you are quickly accepted as a member of their staff, making for much better working relationships. 
What type of work do you do as a locum paramedic?
The wide variety of contracts available means I never get bored and can remain current in both the primary care setting as well as the emergency setting. Medic Now is very supportive and proactively seek new contracts offering me different opportunities as they arise. I could be on an ambulance one day and the next day visiting patients in their home on behalf of the GP, to facilitate care at home. The rates of pay are competitive with the option to be paid weekly or monthly. I enjoy working for Medic Now and the staff I work alongside, it makes going to work enjoyable.