AskDefine | Define locum

Dictionary Definition

locum n : someone (physician or clergyman) who substitutes temporarily for another member of the same profession [syn: locum tenens]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈləʊkəm/


  1. In the context of "UK|informal": Abbreviated form of locum tenens.


Extensive Definition

Locum, short for the Latin phrase locum tenens (lit. "place-holder," akin to lieutenant), is a person who temporarily fulfills the duties of another. For example, a Locum doctor is a doctor who works in the place of the regular doctor when that doctor is absent. These professionals are still governed by their respective regulatory bodies, despite the transient nature of their positions.
The abbreviated form "locum" is common in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most other countries; unlike in Latin its plural is locums. In the United States, the full length "locum tenens" is preferred, though for some particular roles, alternative expressions (e.g. "substitute teacher") may be more commonly used.
In the UK, the NHS on average has 3 500 locum doctors working on any given day. Many of these locum doctors are supplied by private agencies through a national framework agreement that the NHS holds with 21 private agencies. NHS figures show that approximately 80% of locum positions are filled by agencies on this framework. The remaining 20% are filled by agencies working outside of this agreement.
locum in German: Honorararzt
locum in Spanish: Locum tenens
locum in Polish: Locum tenens
locum in Russian: Патриарший местоблюститель
locum in Finnish: Locum tenens
locum in Swedish: Locum tenens
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