The Ultimate Guide to Locum Pharmacy

February 26th, 2018 Locum Pharmacy | The Ultimate Guide No Comments

The Ultimate Guide to Locum Pharmacy (1)


1. The Ultimate Guide Introduction

2. Locum Pharmacy Essentials

2.1 GPC Registration

2.2 Indemnity Insurance

2.3 DBS Enhanced Check

2.4 NHS Smartcard

2.5 Accreditations

3. Highly Desirable Accreditations

3.1 Flu Vaccination Training

3.2 Emergency Hormonal Contraception

3.3 Minor Ailments Scheme

3.4 Smoking Cessation and other PGD’s

4. All about your Finances

4.1 Locum Pharmacy Tax and Accountancy

4.2 Pharmacist Income Protection

4.3 Free Templates and Invoices

5. Mastering the Art of Locum Pharmacy

5.1 Negotiating Locum Rates

5.2 Networking and Marketing yourself

6. We’re here to help you

Locum Pharmacy – A world where YOU have control over your working hours

I hesitated for months before I finally took the plunge and became a locum pharmacist. I remember thinking to myself:

— What if I can’t find any work?

— How am I going to sort my taxes out?

— Should I really leave the security I have with my current employer?

— Who do I get insured with?

and so on…

BUT, four years on and still a locum pharmacist (part-time now), it’s a decision I DEFINITELY do not regret. 

You see, flexibility is key for me and this line of work provides that. I can organise time off on MY terms and I certainly do not have an issue with finding or being offered work. Being a locum pharmacist has allowed me to upskill in other areas of life all while providing the security I was weary about in the beginning. 

But all that time ago, I wasn’t equipped with the experience that I have today. I broke into the world of locum pharmacy without many resources and minimal support. I was learning the ropes the old school way by just “getting stuck in there” and making mistake along my oscillating journey.

However, it wasn’t too long before I came across a new platform called My Locum Choice and the guys who run it, Miraj and Mitesh. They’ve helped me so much in my journey as a locum, providing easy solutions to improve my bookings, workflow and general locum life. They’ve been imperative to the career I have today. 

My name is Saam and only a few weeks back, I rang Mitesh with an idea.

Saam: “Mit. I reckon I’ve an awesome idea, again. Why don’t we work together to create “The Ultimate Guide to Locum Pharmacy?”

Mitesh: “Sounds great. What will it entail?”

Saam: “Literally everything a pharmacist needs to know to get started quickly, securely and successfully as a locum.”

Mitesh: “Sounds like you’ll be really upset if I say no. So let’s go for it.”

So, without further a due, we present you with The Ultimate Guide to Locum Pharmacy. We hope you find this resource useful and if you do, please share it with your colleagues 🙂

The Essentials

The Essentials for Locum Pharmacy

In order to begin your locum pharmacy career and that you’re able to complete a shift lawfully and safely, there are some things that are essential for you to have completed. Below is a checklist of items that you can go through but we’ve extended this list to include items that are so desirable in today’s competitive environment, that they are now essential. If you have any questions regarding these, then please don’t hesitate to contact us at

GPhC Registration

We know this is obvious but we want to be thorough in this guide. Please check your registration on the GPhC website here and print off your responsible pharmacist notice here. Make some copies and upload it to Google Drive so you can access it from any pharmacy you work quickly. 

Also, it is advisable that you make copies of your GPhC registration certificate and take them with you to your shifts.

Indemnity Insurance

You have to be insured to work in a pharmacy to cover you if any claims are made against you. The NPA and PDA and having been insured with them throughout the whole of our locum pharmacy careers, we advise on getting your insurance through them. Click here for more information.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Check

In order for your employer to make sure they’ve recruited a suitable individual to work with vulnerable people, such as young children, they require you to have a DBS Check. Without this, it will be very hard to find employment. We provide a quick and easy solution for this at an industry leading price.

Click here to start your DBS application 

Locum Enabled NHS Smartcard

It is HIGHLY recommended that you get a locum enabled Smartcard that you can use in any of the pharmacies you are working at. Please don’t rely on the Smartcards of the staff you’re working with. The PSNC has detailed information about your Smartcard and you should contact your Local Registration Authority (RA) and organise this with them. They will instruct you as to what you need to do. 


Below are the essential accreditations you need to begin working as a locum pharmacist. Without them, it will be difficult to secure employment so make sure they’re refreshed and up-to-date. 

  • New Medicine Service (NMS) – Self Declaration or CPPE Module

Highly Desirable Accreditations

Accreditations that are desirable for Locum Pharmacy

The locum pharmacy landscape has evolved over the last few years and the turf has certainly become more competitive. The fact that pharmacies are getting paid less for dispensing items means employers will be looking for “extra skills” that will enable them to continue profiting. A pharmacy is also a business after all. Therefore, it’s absolutely in your best interest to become accredited to provide extra services which will no doubt make you favourable over another candidate. Below are the accreditations we strongly recommend you pursue.

Flu Vaccination Training

Although not mandatory, the Flu Vaccination training and accreditation will help you secure employment. In addition, it’s simply an excellent accreditation to have in terms of your clinical expertise, providing extra value for your patients and general job satisfaction. 

We work with Rx Advisor to provide Flu Accreditation for locum pharmacists. The workshops are excellent and the pricing very fair. 

Click here to book your Flu Jab Training Accreditation

Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC)

Again, not mandatory but very desirable and employers will question why this training has not been completed. We are aware that some pharmacists choose not to become EHC accredited due to personal beliefs. If this is something you’d like advice on, then again, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we can talk about it. 

The service specification around EHC differs in different areas of the UK. Therefore, it’s advisable to contact the local CCG where you are working to get a thorough understand of how to go about providing the EHC free under the NHS. 

Access CPPE module on EHC

Minor Ailments Scheme

The LPC’s around the country have been pushing hard to secure proper reimbursement of the Minor Ailments Scheme (MAS) and some areas have done so very successfully. Another accreditation that is very valuable to have under your belt. Again, like EHC, some CCG’s have a different specification for the MAS. So do your research before you go to work in that pharmacy to make sure you have a good understanding of how it works. 

Access the various MAS modules on CPPE

Smoking Cessation

Another desirable accreditation to have and will be certainly looked at where pharmacies do offer this service. 

Access the various Smoking Cessation modules on CPPE

To make accreditation of some of these Patient Group Directives (PGD’s) easier, we’ve teamed up with Voyager Medical to provide you with an online PGD multipack. Check it out here and if you have any questions about it, just give us a buzz. 

All about your Finances

Get your Locum Pharmacy finances right. (1)

The great thing about locum pharmacy is that you’re free to manage time on your own schedule. However, this freedom does come with extra responsibility in terms of managing your money and being very organised. Because you’re not tied into a contract and you don’t have a permanent employer, you’ll need to claim for the shifts that you’ve completed, organise invoices and sort out your tax returns, amongst others. Here, you’ll find advice and resources to make sure you’re on top of things.

Locum Pharmacy Accountancy Service

One of the most popular queries My Locum Choice receives is around tax returns and the best way to go about this. You can, of course, do everything yourself but it can be a headache, there is room for mistakes and you may be leaking money at the end of the year. That’s why they have partnered with Cobley Desborough, an accountancy firm that they trust and is who I also use. Their advice and service are second to none and they help me maximise my earnings at the end of the year. For a small fee, this option is really worth considering. 

Pharmacist Income Protection

Again, since you’re self-employed, you are not entitled to things like “sick pay” if you fall ill, which is often a worry for pharmacists, especially if they have responsibilities such as a family or mortgage. This is why protecting your income is something to consider. We have been working with PG Mutual to provide this cover for our clients and they are great. Check them out and if you have any questions, get in touch with us and we’ll be able to talk you through it 🙂

Templates and Invoices

We can’t stress the importance of keeping organised. This is why My Locum Choice has created a couple of free templates for you to use that will help you keep on top of your locum pharmacy shifts.

Locum Pharmacy Invoice Template

Locum Pharmacy Expenses Template

Mastering the art of Locum Pharmacy

Like any other skill, the more you locum, the better and more comfortable you will become at it. Your first weeks or months can certainly be daunting but with time and experience, your confidence will grow. Walking into an unknown pharmacy will become a breeze in the park, you’ll understand how to orchestrate a pharmacy team quicker and negotiate locum rates with better success In this section of the guide, we’re going to talk about a few things you can do to help you master the art of locum pharmacy quicker. 

Locum Rate Negotiation

Unfortunately, locum rates are not what they used to be 10 years ago mainly because of supply and demand. You will come across potential employers who will ask you to work for a specific wage but if you do not think it is fair or representative of your expertise, then you must negotiate for a better rate. Now, you’re not always going to negotiate a better deal and that’s just life. It’s up to you if you want to take the shift or not. However, by practicing negotiation, you’re developing an excellent transferable life skill that will no doubt boost your confidence. 

Have a look at this short video by Ramit Sethi that will give you some tips on how to negotiate better:

Networking and Marketing yourself

Essentially, as a locum pharmacist, you’re running your own business. And when you run your own business, you need to expose yourself in order to get new business. That’s where networking and marketing yourself can really help and with the digital platforms we have at our disposal today, connective with others (locums, pharmacists and employers) is easier than ever before. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is at it’s best, you’re connecting with colleagues on Facebook and you’re networking effectively at events. Building relationships with those people and businesses that matter to you is everything.

To understand more about how to market yourself effectively through digital channels, have a look at the guide, Mastering Digital Pharmacy.

My Locum Choice – We’re here to help you

Whatever stage you’re at in your locum pharmacy career, we’re here to help and support you. Our online platform is designed to make the booking and scheduling of your locum shifts as easy as possible and our goal is to help you build a successful locum pharmacy career.  

If you have any quesions or queries to the information in this guide or would just like a chat with us, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at You can also get us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

This guide was written by My Locum Choice with the help of Saam Ali of Pharmacy Mentor

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