Livin’ La Vida Locum – Installment 2.0 : Australia V UK


Australia V UK

by Gen Howard

Working in the UK has blown my professional and personal mind. It has been wonderful seeing how different systems and practices operate within speech and language therapy. I feel the need to show you a summary of some of the main employment based differences I’ve found between Australia and the UK:




Speech Pathologist – makes us sound fancy & sophisticated

Speech and Language Therapist – why would anyone want to be called a “SALT” ?!

Dysphagia trained

Are you dysphagia competent? Yes – I have been doing this for 5 years?

Pre-thickened drinks

- Mildly, moderately, extremely

Standing over a cup of thickened beverage waiting for it to thicken – then arguing with nursing staff that this ‘syrup thick’ drink is not supposed to be solid

Locum pay is the same as permanent staff, without any perks! Slave labour…

Higher pay for locums (yippee!) – funds all of your many holidays and clothing!

Must drive vehicle to get anywhere

Can rely solely on public transport… except in the instance of tube strikes or light sprinkly rain (or torrential rain as the Brits may call it)

Australian accent = Tick

“Am I going to leave hospital with an Australian accent with you as my therapist?”… legitimate question

Have to seek out and find own jobs (aka selling your soul), with limited opportunities unless someone dies, retires or has children…

Locum agencies throw buckets of awesome jobs at you (yippee again!)

Sound grammatical skills are imperative

Them grammar skills was important? You fink so innit? Regional ‘grammatical correctness’ may, nay, will kill you softly!

Very important…Phonetics: ˈjoʊɡərt (yo-gurt)

Phonetics: ˈjɒɡət (yog-urt)... your heart breaks a little every time you hear yourself saying this out loud

Stylish, corporate style uniform requirements – Negative = constantly pestered as you are mistaken for a doctor

Here’s an ugly tunic – but it has 1000 pockets! Negative = constantly thought to be a physiotherapist. Perhaps a giant “SALT” shaker costume would be more appropriate?


I’m sure that the list could go on and on and on, but there are also a number of similarities in hospital working practice between Australia and the UK:

  • Your base skills are essentially the same, meaning you can slot into a job without too many differing terms or practices.
  • Most jobs have similar working hours
  • Some thickeners are the same (thank god for resource thicken up clear!)
  • You can use the same assessments and treatment resources
  • Your clinical skills and training are recognized and highly regarded
  • You continue to work closely with members of multidisciplinary teams
  • You still get to use your pink stethoscope without too much judgment
  • The language is the same!! (Most of the time… see above table!!!)


Gen Howard, Locum Speech Language Pathologist. LinkedIn Profile 

Read Gen's first installment here: Livin' La Vida Locum


You can find out more information about Working in the UK here




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