Healthtech entrepreneur, Zulé Vuuren and Optometrist, Tanya Oehmen, have launched LocumBase.com after personally experiencing the frustrating process of navigating the locum system to secure freelance shifts.

Launched in May 2018, LocumBase is an online platform that allows freelance medical professionals and practices to easily find each other.

“LocumBase aims to create a supportive ecosystem for both freelance medical professionals and the practices, clinics and hospitals that use our services. Our platform simplifies the booking process to ensure that freelance medical professionals have more control over their schedules and workload, while also providing practices with a cost-effective solution that allows them to quickly fill open vacancies,” Vuuren told eHealthNews.

“The booking process on LocumBase can happen in a minute unlike traditional recruitment agencies, through which it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to book a locum,” continued Vuuren.

The locum market relies on informal word-of-mouth recommendations and recruitment agencies to place temporary staff with medical facilities for a fee, from the facilities or practices, and often an additional fee from locums themselves. According to Vuuren, this process is admin-heavy and doesn’t give practices control over the kind of candidate that the agency sends.

Every candidate on LocumBase’s platform is rigorously screened to check that they are registered with the relevant professional body and that locums have the required Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points which allow them to continue their professional practice.

LocumBase offers practices a fully managed service and access to a vast database of locums. LocumBase uses several criteria to match locums with vacancies, including their experience, location, dates and available shifts. A basic search on the site will give the practice a list of available locums, and a booking can be made immediately.

Healthcare professionals register on LocumBase for free and specify location and scheduling preferences. Locums will receive notification when a practice has sent them a booking request for only days that they have set as available, which they can accept or decline.

“A pharmacist might be looking to work in a rural setting for a couple of weeks or a practice might be looking to fill a vacancy over the holidays or during peak periods; LocumBase aids both locums and employers,” said Vuuren.

“Today’s professionals, especially millennials, want flexibility. They don’t want to work at the same hospital or practice for years. Instead they want the flexibility to explore different opportunities and gain experience in different work environments,” said Vuuren.

While there’s a demand for locums, temporary staff are often excluded from training offered to permanent staff. LocumBase aims to change that by facilitating training between suppliers and locums. For example, LocumBase could facilitate a group training session with a lens and contact lens supplier to Optometry locums. The supplier would provide the training and training materials, helping locums keep up to date with the latest information and procedures in their industry.

In the near future, LocumBase plans to extend its services and include various other medical professions to their locum database.

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