The LocumKey Blog

Now you have finished your exam, after the obligatory post-exam sabbatical you will be undoubtedly eager to start earning as a Pharmacist the moment your name is confirmed on the GPHC register. One of the common enquiries we have had at LocumKey has been how best to prepare your documentation and certification as a Pre-reg student, so that you are able to start locum work immediately upon joining the register, so we decided to write about it for you.

Currently, locum Agencies require you to have an active GPHC number in order to register with them. We have created a Pre-reg signup option here at LocumKey whereby you can provide your basic details in advance of you being on the register, in order to allow us to verify your information and help get you compliant and ready to work the moment you join the register as opposed to having to wait till you have your GPHC no. confirmed and then having to sign-up after that.

When you sign up with any locum agency it is required that you provide as a minimum:
  • Accreditation of certain additional skills (MUR, Repeat dispensing accreditation etc)
  • Indemnity insurance certificate (You can get this through the NPA or PDA)
  • Enhanced DBS certificate (and evidence you are subscribed to the DBS update service)
  • Personal details (name, address, tel. etc)
  • Smartcard number

You can go through exactly what these various items are on the ‘Resources’ or the ‘Registration’ page of our website here. The accreditations (MUR, NMS certificate, etc) are all available for pre-registration students to obtain before they are on the register, through the CPPE website here. You can therefore save yourself a lot of time by getting those done now, as some of them can take a few attempts to complete.

Pre-registrations students are able to get their enhanced DBS checks done with us and receive their certificates before they are on the Pharmacists register. Once subscribed to the DBS update service, you can then go on to use this same certificate throughout your career as a Locum Pharmacist. LocumKey has one of the fastest available DBS checking processes, with four out of five applications being completed within a week, and 30% of those being done within 24hours, this is still time a lot of you don’t want to be waiting around for after joining the register. We have set up the DBS check service for you on our website, so you can get it done in advance of your registration. The process has been designed to be super-fast and simple, with every step laid out here.

Locum Smartcard access is not an essential requirement to work as a locum everywhere, although it is becoming more and more common that it is. Depending on your local registration authority’s requirements for issuing one, you may need to book some locum jobs with just a standard Smartcard for one location, or even without one at all in order to then use these bookings as proof of your impending locum work so that you can be issued with a locum enabled Smartcard. Some local authorities are less strict and will issue you with a locum Smartcard without you having worked as a locum yet. If you are having difficulty obtaining one don’t hesitate to contact us as we may be able to help complete the process for you. We have a section in our resources section where you can find your point of contact for your Smartcard here.

Before you start preparing any accretions and certifications register now as a pre-reg with us and we will set you up and let you know exactly what you have left outstanding to be ready to locum. We will also send you a 15% discount code for our Locum Manual E-Book, the comprehensive guide to locumming. Unlock your potential!


There are times of the year when locum demand is particularly high, this is generally due to it being a popular time of the year for permanently employed pharmacists to take their holidays. This will typically coincide with school holidays, national holidays, and religious festivals. Severe weather conditions can also cause a high locum demand, although this is not predictable in the same way. It is also worth noting that most companies do not allow their staff members to take time off during December, as this is an important commercial period. December and the months either side of it, tend to be a notoriously quiet time for locum work, it is advisable to try to book much of these months in advance if you are planning on working through this period. On the other hand, it can be an ideal time of the year to take a well-deserved break.

We have created a ‘Locum Calendar’ with all of the important dates that locum pharmacists are in high demand and consequently enhanced rates. It is a good idea to mark these dates in your calendar and bear them in mind when you are considering bookings.

Locum Calendar

Spring Half Term 12th to 16th Feb / 19th February to 23rd February (varies by region)
Easter Holidays 30th March to 13th April
Early May Bank Holiday 7th May
Ramadan 15th May to 14th June
Spring Bank Holiday 28th May
Summer Half Term 28th May to 1st June
Eid ul fitr 14/15/16 of June (depending on the moon)
Summer Holidays 23rd July to 1st September
Eid al adha 22nd to 24th August
Pharmacy Show 7th to 8th of October
October Half Term 23rd to 27th October / 26th October to 4th November (varies by region)
Diwali 7th November
Christmas Holidays 21st December to 2nd January

Please note: Major sporting events concerning the national team can also create increase additional locum demand, so mark these dates in your diary too.

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