Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Locum doctor: Why shouldn’t I sell my labour to the highest bidder? – By Jim Higginson

I am a locum tenens: a place-holder. I get calls and emails – scores every day – telling me that places are vacant in local emergency departments. And so, when I choose, I climb into the skin of an emergency medicine middle grade. That is, for a few days a month, I work in A&E. This skin isn’t my skin. I wear it because I get paid – well – to do so.

The recent news highlighting the rising national locum bill concentrates on the expense of locum consultants. In fact, most of the expenditure is on juniors and those, like me, of mid-level experience. I am not an emergency medicine trainee, and have never had formal A&E training: I’m training in  oral and maxillofacial surgery (maxfacs).

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Why shouldn’t a doctor, cowed and exhausted by a system designed to undermine and disempower, consider selling their labour to the highest bidder? Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

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