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Pay as you go, or go as you're paid? Life on the locum circuit
  1. Richard Hillam

    Richard Hillam qualified from Liverpool in 1989. He worked in mixed practice for two years, before joining the locum circuit. In 1993, he was awarded a BBSRC veterinary research fellowship. He gained a PhD in bone physiology from Bristol University in 1996 and the RCVS certificate in veterinary radiology in 1997. He is a member of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue Organisation.


‘LOCUM – a person who stands in temporarily for another member of the same profession, especially for a physician, chemist or clergyman’ (Collins English Dictionary).

After two or three years in private practice, or on completion of a university residency, some veterinary surgeons decide that they would like a period of more flexible working conditions. As Richard Hillam explains, life as a locum can provide valuable experience in a variety of clinical environments, while offering the freedom to travel, study or pursue other interests. However, it is important to be aware that this freedom comes at a price.

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