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By Dr Kiran Morjaria

Supplementing your basic pay as an FY1 doctor

3 min
Dr Kiran Morjaria

Looking for tips on how to earn some extra cash as an FY1 doctor? Dr Kiran Morjaria explains all…

One of the most common ways that FY1 doctors can supplement their basic pay is by taking on extra shifts. These are known as locum or bank shifts.

As an FY1 doctor, you have a provisional registration to practice. This means you can only do locum or bank shifts at the hospital you are training in. As an FY2 doctor (or above), you’re able to do these shifts wherever you want to, because you have full registration to practice.

How it works

Let’s say that a weekend shift has become available due to staff illness. Your Trust may send an email to all FY1 doctors to ask if anyone is able to cover. They’ll tell you what the shift is, how many hours you’ll be needed and what the rate of pay is. It will normally have a pretty good rate.

Although extra money is tempting, there’s a few things you should consider before agreeing to a shift.

Free time vs. extra cash

It’s important to consider the value of your free time, because you don’t get much of it as a doctor. You may really need your days off, and it’s important to think about your health. You need to rest as much as you can, especially given the demanding jobs we work in.

How much will you be taxed?

Before agreeing to extra shifts, think about how much you’ll actually take home. A portion of your additional earnings will be eaten up by tax – income tax, NI, student loans and pension contributions. Is what’s left worth taking that extra shift for?

European Working Time Directive

All doctors are part of the European Working Time Directive. This is a set of rules that makes working safe for doctors. It means that you are limited to how long a shift can be, how many breaks you get within a shift, and how long the breaks between shifts are too.

If you’re taking on extra work (such as locum shifts), your Trust will ask you to opt out of the European Working Time Directive. This is a normal thing for them to do.

How to make extra shifts work for you

Sometimes, you can negotiate with your rota team to get an extra day off. For example, you could say to them: “Yes, I’m happy to work that weekend – but would you give me that Monday off?”

It doesn’t cost them anything to give you that Monday off. If the ward is well-staffed, then why wouldn’t they be able to give you this time? It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try.

Final thoughts

There are lots of other ways that junior doctors can make money on the side of working in a hospital. For example, doctors can tutor on A-Level courses or those trying to get into medical school. Another idea is to take the brilliant notes you spent so long taking, make them look nice and see if you can sell them.

There are many ways to supplement your basic pay, and you can get really creative doing so. Your health should always come first, but if you can strike the right balance, you can quickly start earning some of that extra cash.

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