Cavity Dental Staff Blog

All you need to know about being a Locum Hygienist

31st Jan 2022

We recently sat down with Amanda and she has told us everything there is to know about being a Locum Hygienist.



How do you become a locum hygienist?

I left a practice I was working full time and needed extra work . I looked up agencies in my area and found cavity. After applying online I received a phone call and sent in the requited documents and was then ready to begin!

What steps do you take to sort your tax and NI as a locum?

I have always been self employed as a dental hygienist and the first 3 years of my career I hired an accountant that did my tax returns. After the 3 years, I used previous tax returns they had completed for me to start doing it myself. It just entails adding up all incoming payments from practices for the tax year and keeping receipts - I take a picture and keep them in a file in my phone.

How do you decide what your hourly rate should be?

I base my hourly rate on my experience and the average for the areas. The minimum I would expect as a Hygienist with over 5 years experience in the North West of England is £30 p/h.

How do you decide what your expenses should be and how do you factor this into the hourly rate?

I do not drive so if the journey to a practice would be more than an hour I would increase my hourly rate by £2 per hour to cover expenses and travel time.

How do you get contacted for a job through an agency and how do you organise your diary to get maximum work?

I get an email from my Agency asking if I can cover a particular day for a certain practice and once I have agreed, I get sent  a confirmation email with the practice details,  hourly rate and date/time the confirmed booking. I also email my Agency regularly to let them know what my availability is.

What do clients expect from you as a locum?

They would expect you to arrive early enough to familiarise yourself with the practice and the surgery you will be working in. Also to turn up presentable in the correct uniform for your role and to work to the GDC standards.

What does your average day look like?

When locumming , I arrive 30 minutes early to the practice in my own clothes and put my uniform on there. I have a template for my notes on my email so I will log into my emails and copy and paste this so I can add into my patients notes for the day. I will then be shown around the practice and introduced to the staff that work there. Then the morning session begins, lunch is usually an hour and then the afternoon session to the end of the day.

Why did you want to become a locum?

I enjoy the freedom and meeting new people when going to different practices. It is also a great way to network and to keep an eye out on job vacancies at practices you have enjoyed working at.

Three things you enjoy the most about being a locum?

  1. Meeting new people.
  2. Freedom to choose when and where to work.
  3. Increased rate of pay compared to permanent work for the same role.


Thanks for reading :)

Love, Amanda.



Are you a qualified Hygienist wanting to try something new?

Why not give locumming a try?

Check out the benefits here and why not apply?

We would love to hear from you.