The Ultimate guide for locum doctor in NSW

Here is the ultimate guide for locum doctor in NSW. Working in NSW as a locum doctor offers a huge variety of locations and regions that you can work in. It’s definitely the most populated state. And that shows that comes across in the locum options that are there to the market as well.

Locum doctor guide in NSW


NSW is the most populated state in Australia, a fairly substantial population of 8.1 million as of June 2020. So if you want choice and variety as a locum look no further than NSW for your locum options. More than 5 million of these people who call NSW home are based in the Greater Sydney area. Statistics suggest at least 15% of doctors that work in the public system in NSW are actually locums, so volume wise that’s a significantly big chunk of the work force.

So what is so great about being a locum in NSW?

Well, there is plenty! Arguably the best serviced set up NSW is a great options for regular career locums. But also for intermittent candidates looking for a change of location and scenery. NSW Health is well established and has robust management systems for managing locum resourcing. And so has been a good choice for locums for many years. As the first state to bring in mandatory compliance for doctor credentialing, NSW has a lot to brag about if you’re looking for a compliant and well serviced structure to support your career and professional needs as a locum in the NSW Health system. 

As the publicly operated system in the state of New South Wales, NSW Health is funded primarily through state taxation. If you are new to Australia its worth noting that the states and territories operate their health systems differently. Whilst federal or commonwealth wide legislations apply to Australia wide practices in many cases, local governments have fairly significant power and influence. As well as funds to make change and serve the populations they govern. This is regularly observed by newcomers comparing differences between states. From a health perspective as well as many other features that signify a great place to travel, stay or more permanently reside in. So it’s well worth knowing more about how a state operates! Above all if you are thinking of a relocation, as well as developing a top line interest in local politics! 


NSW Health is highly regulated, they have list of approved medical recruitment agencies to work within the NSW Health system. This process requires external auditing, incidentally ensuring high quality standards and compliance to keep best practice standards in operation. If you want to work as a locum in NSW make sure your agency is on the list. Local health districts also operate contracts with specific locum agencies. So it’s important to check with the agency first if they have a contract to work in that region. Above all if you have your heart set on somewhere in particular.

Please check out our paperwork and compliance requirements for NSW HEALTH Blog

Alongside the NSW state baseline compliance requirements you will need to fulfill to work as a locum in NSW. The regions also operate their own district compliance requirements. But generally if you undergo the requirements you can work in any public hospital in that district.

NSW health map


The New South Wales signature geography is predominately along the beautiful coastline, hugging the south eastern section of the Australian continent.

NSW is also known for beautiful national parkland, the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley winery region. The climate is warm to sub- tropical with hot summers and mild winters. Coastal fronts keep locations cooler towards the sea. Whilst inland temperatures can soar in the summer months, unfortunately making bushfires and droughts commonplace.

Health services in NSW are divided into private and public services, as well as split by metropolitan and rural/regional areas. It will be no surprise that Sydney as the state capital and metropolitan centre has five separate health districts, named by geography.

NSW Health

NSW Health is split into the state-wide health services NSW Ambulance, Pathology and Health protection and then into 15 local health districts and 3 specialty networks:

NSW Local Health districts MetroRegional & ruralNSW Specialty networks
Central Coast
Illawarra Shoalhaven
Nepean Blue Mountains
Northern Sydney
South Eastern Sydney
South Western Sydney
Western Sydney
Far West
Hunter New England
Mid North Coast
Northern NSW
Southern NSW
Western NSW
Sydney Children’s Hospital Network
Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network
St Vincent’s Health Network

Personal administration

Regarding personal administration, as with anywhere operating as a locum can require a little extra diligence in the administration and accounting department. So be sure to have your compliance requirements in check and ready to go before you start. This will help avoid any headaches and to ensure speedy pay into your nominated bank, as expected! NSW Health also supply you with a payslip so this can be really useful when managing your own accounting and doing your tax returns!!

Also be sure to check your employer indemnity insurance is valid before starting a locum role. Verify that the scope of work is covered, especially in the more rural locations. Hospital posts will usually have you covered under their state government (employer indemnified) and another perk of NSW Health payroll and compliance. Fulfilling and verifying this practice will stand you in good stead for ticking the compliance checklist. 

Pay for Locum Doctor in NSW

As geography dictates in such a big country, the more rural or remote the areas attract higher pay rewards. Due to the higher need and inconvenience being away from cities, but the balance for your own personal needs is weighted by less support provided on the ground. 

Comparatively pay is good for locum doctor in NSW. It’s another reason why it’s such a favourable place to locum! Pay increases in regions where the need is higher, or where there’s a shortage of resource. For example in emergency medicine if you have a senior skillset and capabilities to run and oversee a service, this is in high demand so you can be prepared to be a high value commodity! Generally speaking, closer to the metro hubs resource is a little more readily available to fill positions. So looking further afield can offer more opportunity for roles and pay accordingly if that is high on your list of priorities. 

NSW Health pays all locums working in the state in public services, and getting paid happens usually via a fortnightly cycle. The process is regular and runs efficiently. So as long as your paperwork is up to date and in order, getting physically paid should not be a concern. Paperwork in the form of timesheets are however required. And your agency will help process that with NSW Health. But also make sure all the details are on file to schedule payments with the payroll department direct into your chosen bank account via PAYE.  

Payment via your ABN

VMoney is operated to a certain extent. In some districts more readily than others, so check before you start if you have particular needs in this area. Usually most methods can be catered to for the right person in a role that is mutually beneficial for both parties. But it may take a little extra set up and paperwork to get you started.


Comparing the details on paper, one of the main benefits of a locum role in NSW and with NSW Health is the pay rates are exclusive of superannuation. That means that your super contributions paid on top of the quoted pay rates. So add 10% on top of your rate from 2021 (increase 0.5% from previous years) and this will be paid by NSW Health into your nominated superannuation fund! Great perk! And the federal government is committed to increasing the percentage of compulsory super payments to offset future retirement headaches for the ageing population and longer life span of future generations. So this positive trend will be continuing for some time yet.

NSW hospital

Shifts and rosters in NSW

The shifts that Blugibbon can access for you that operate throughout New South Wales are very high volume and tend to be formulaic and specific. For example, Hunter New England area health service will provide exact shifts and rotas. That will be nights or days and so forth, so you know exactly what to expect.

Some other states may request a block of time. For example two weeks to cover annual leave, but may not know the roster details at the time of request. You may not know until a week before starting. Which can be a juggle with logistics and travel, as well as setting healthy shift work sleep patterns.

You can generally avoid this with NSW postings as we tend to know a little better what to anticipate and expect. As an NSW Health agency on the approved provider list, Blugibbon can receive up to 250 different requests for doctor locum in New South Wales every day. So the benefit of a role within NSW Health as a locum is plenty of choice for locations and options, shifts and variety, good pay and benefits and a fairly good idea of what its going to be like. As an agency that has plenty of shifts and great relationships with NSW Health. If you want to locum in NSW Blugibbon is the best choice to help you get the role that suits you. 

With a regular expectation and rota, it is easy to make the most of your locum post in NSW. And enjoy time off to enjoy a break or much deserved holiday in your chosen location.

For some great idea and suggestions of what to do and where to visit whilst in NSW, check out our spin on locum locations. Covering far and wide the best spots to locum in NSW and more specifics on towns and cities in NSW.

Travel & Logisitics

Metro hubs don’t pay travel or accommodation as a rule, unless there’s an exception such as shift conditions or something out of the ordinary.

Travelling to your new regional or rural location

Most routes begin in Sydney. And the travel to regional towns and rural areas are serviced from local interstate airlines in and out of Sydney airport. There may also be routes via Melbourne in certain cases. But its more likely starting from Sydney then onto the regional hub.

Typically, two or three flights a day are operating by various different airlines that have contracts with the particular town. Regional and rural hospitals will provide or pay for accommodation, travel and a hire car during the duration of stay for longer posts. When accommodation is provided it is well considered and always features kitchen facilities and equipment to cook your own food. Which can be either a necessary evil or a therapeutic endeavour depending on the success of the day!

NSW Sydney doctors

CPD for doctor locum in NSW, can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be.

Locum doctors can be open to criticism when it comes to continuing professional development and demonstrating fitness to practice without the structure of a regular role and ongoing employment in one place. To maintain AHPRA registration as a medical professional in Australia, CPD is a prerequisite.

Obviously a downside of being a locum is the loss of an institutional backing for developing your skillset and continual learning. Self-motivated learning and self funded activities are part of the locum life and requirements for continual revision and review.

With a specialism there is usually a college that a fellowship or membership can fulfil CPD. As a locum without a specialism, there is no dedicated college or network to help you uphold your CPD requirements. 

According to the Professional Performance Framework the Medical Board of Australia requires at least 50 hours/year (or a full week and a half of mon-fri 9 to 5 working) to be demonstrated to maintain registration.

Locum Doctors in NSW requirements

– Choose a Continuing Professional Development home and be involved in its program 
– do Continuing Professional Development that is suitable with their scope of practice
– Adapt their Continuing Professional Development on a Personal Professional Development plan
– Complete 50 hrs of Continuing Professional Development per year. It could be either: outcomes of performance reviewing, and educational activities.

Incidentally, the RACGP has some very clear guidance and instructions on what and how to achieve Continuing Professional Development credits. And whilst their programs are obviously designed for General Practitioners, the principles of good CPD and educational activity can be applied to any field, specialism or medical service and place of work. Clinical audits, peer reviews and ongoing plan/do/study/act/review cycles are very popular models. And can apply to any demonstrable behaviour change or improvement activity. 

Like many areas of locuming that can be a challenge, the key is often regular upkeep of administration. And keeping yourself on track with accounting and a systematic and practical approach to maintenance of records and information. Set aside some time every quarter to evaluate your accounting, tax, record keeping, compliance requirements and CPD expectations, and what was once a chore will become easily managed. Blugibbon can help with your needs in all of these areas.