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How to get a credit card if you are new to the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
January 24, 2020

When you first move to the UK, it will be hard to get a credit card, a financed car, get a mortgage or get a bank loan. This is due to the lack of a credit history you have in the UK. Unfortunately, you cannot transfer your credit rating from your home country to the UK. So, you will essentially be starting again. Without a present credit history, lenders won’t have any information on you to determine whether you can manage credit responsibly and may therefore class you as high risk, making them reluctant to lend to you. In this blog post, we share how to build up some positive credit history in the UK to help you with your short-term goals such as obtaining a credit card or long-term goals... buying a house! Please note, we are not financial advisors and this blog post is simply a guide. Please consult a professional for further information. What is included in my credit score? Name, address and date of birth Past credit applications Credit repayment history, including late or missed payments Your existing debt Your electoral register presence Any joint credit cards or loans If you have been declared bankrupt or have an IVA Any county court judgements (CCJ’s) Current account turnover What is not included in my credit score? Student loans Medical history Council tax arrears Criminal record Parking or driving fines Step 1: Employment Most lenders require evidence of proof of a regular income. So, being employed by the NHS you will be able to evidence a consistent income. Step 2: Get a UK address Most lenders will not give you credit without proof of a UK address. So, the first step is to secure a permanent residence. Please note, when you go to open a UK high street bank account you will need to show proof of address. If you are yet to secure permanent accommodation, you can evidence your Air B n B’s address. Step 3: Open a UK Bank Account Although this is not essential to apply for credit, it is advisable that you open a bank account in the UK as it will make you more attractive to lenders. Having a UK bank account means that you can pay bills by direct debit, receive your salary and transfer money abroad. If you would like our advice on how to open a bank account in the UK, please do read our blog post here. Step 4: Create some Positive History in the UK If you can show that you manage credit responsibly, you are more likely to get better interest rates in the future. You have a number of options available to you when you first arrive: Open a high interest credit card – Make sure that you spend little each month, pay back in full and stay within your credit limit otherwise it will have a negative effect on your credit rating. Example high interest cards, please check with each provider as rates regularly change. The Aqua Card – Typical 35.9% APR variable and up to 51 days interest free credit on purchases if you pay off your balance in full and on time each month The Capital One Classic: Typical 34.9% APR variable The Barclaycard Initial: Typical 27.9% APR variable Put bills in your name (where possible) and pay them by direct debit Open a couple of store cards as they are usually easier to get than standard rate credit cards but always pay them off in full every month and you got another way to show you can handle your finances responsibly. Step 5: Time your applications wisely Applying for lots of credit in a short space of time and being rejected is not good for your credit rating. You can try leaving between three and six months between applications to hep repair your credit rating, however, the process will take longer. One example is a mobile phone contract, car insurance, car finance and a credit card can count towards this. Step 6: Curb your card spending When you do get issued a credit card, you should try to minimise any debt on your cards. As a rule of thumb, you should try to keep the debt on a card under 30% of your credit card limit. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who has decided that you would like our support in securing an NHS service post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS job and on your journey to the UK today. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References Focus, E. (2020). Moving or Moved to the UK? A Guide to Credit and Financial Freedom | Expat Focus. [online] Expatfocus.com. Available at: https://www.expatfocus.com/guide-to-credit-and-financial-freedom-in-the-uk [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020].  

A snapshot of...Chelmsford

By Samantha Joubert
January 24, 2020

Chelmsford is one of the newest cities in the UK, located to the East of England in the county of Essex. Chelmsford is known for being for the birthplace of radio, and also for its cathedral which stands out because of its beautiful stained-glass windows. Being close enough to London to commute, it’s no surprise that Chelmsford has a fantastic reputation and a population of 123,821.   Facts About Chelmsford As previously mentioned, Chelmsford is one of the newest cities in the UK, having only been granted city status in 2012 as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and was previously considered to be a town. The birthplace of radio, it has received this title due to its connections with a man named Guglielmo Marconi, who opened the world’s first wireless factory in 1899 in Chelmsford. The UK Channel 4 TV programme, ‘Location, Location, Location’ voted Chelmsford as the 8th best place to live in the UK in 2007, and in 2019, The Times newspaper included Chelmsford in an article listing it as one of the best places to live in the UK for its excellent education, culture and food. Chelmsford Cathedral is considered to be the second smallest cathedral in England, but as mentioned at the beginning of this blog, its size doesn’t make it any less beautiful. 600 years ago, Chelmsford became England’s capital city for a few days. The reason for this was that the seat of Government was temporarily moved to Chelmsford. BioCare, a food supplement manufacturer based in Birmingham has stated that Chelmsford is the second healthiest place to live in the UK! Hylands House (which you’ll learn more about later in this blog!) featured in the Netflix series, The Crown, as a setting for the White House. Henry VIII visited Chelmsford in the 1520s to stay at Palace Beaulieu, which belonged to Anne Boleyn’s family.   Cost of Living in Chelmsford   Renting Accommodation per Month One-bedroom apartment in the city centre £833.33 One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre £725 Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre £1,400 Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre £1,100     Transportation 1ltr Petrol £1.30 One-way public transport ticket £2.30 Monthly public transport ticket £80 1km Taxi journey £5.00     Entertainment Meal out for two in a local pub £24.00 Meal out for two in a mid-range restaurant, 3 courses £47.50 Cinema tickets for two people £24.00 One-month gym membership £42.50 Beer 0.5ltr bottle £3.50 Coke/Pepsi 0.33 ltr bottle £1.25 Cappuccino £2.79     Time it Takes to Travel from Chelmsford to other Cities in the UK   City Time it Takes to Travel London 37 Minutes Manchester 3 Hours 25 Minutes Newcastle 3 Hours 55 Minutes Birmingham 2 Hours 45 Minutes Liverpool 3 Hours 40 Minutes Edinburgh 5 Hours 25 Minutes Bristol 2 Hours 56 Minutes Cardiff 3 Hours 37 Minutes     Education in Chelmsford There are 37 primary schools, 11 secondary schools and 10 colleges and sixth forms in Chelmsford. There is also an Anglia Ruskin University campus located there. Most of the schools have an Ofsted rating of ‘Good’ but many have also been awarded a rating of ‘Outstanding’ making it an excellent location for education. If you’d like to see the Ofsted ratings for individual schools in the area, you can visit the Gov.UK website.     Things to do in Chelmsford   Jump Street Jump Street is an indoor activity park boasting Essex’s biggest climbing wall, soft play area and trampoline! A great way to get active whilst also having a fun family day out, they have an ‘Open Jump’ trampoline area, dodgeball courts, climbing areas, drop slides, rope bridges and more, so there should be something to suit family members of all ages and abilities. If you need a break, or simply want to enjoy a coffee whilst your children try out the activities available, there’s a café overlooking the activity areas where you can relax and grab a snack. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Prices do vary depending on the activities you choose, but their ‘Open Jump’ sessions cost £10 if you book in advance, and £12 if you walk-in on the day. Their tots sessions, for children under 4 years of age, costs £5 if you book in advance and £7 if you walk-in. If you’d like to see a full list of activities and prices, you can find them on the Jump Street website.   Chelmsford Civic Theatre If you’re a fan of theatre, then Chelmsford Civic Theatre is a perfect night out to relax and unwind. The theatre has 500 seats, providing an intimate performance space with no restricted views, and an adjoining studio space where you can watch live performances as well as movie screenings. The seating was refurbished in 2016, making it modern and comfortable. If you’d like to enjoy a drink before the performance, the Civic bar opens an hour prior to shows starting. There are also wheelchair spaces and accessibility for less able guests. See what’s playing at Chelmsford Civic Theatre here.   Chelmsford Museum Step into Chelmsford’s history and take a journey back in time at Chelmsford Museum. Travel through the Ice Age and witness a mammoth and explore the history of the natural world. With the history of pottery, clothing and toys, you can learn about all aspects of Chelmsford’s history. They even have child-friendly activities to get them excited about learning. The museum has accessibility for less able guests, a hearing loop, as well as a café and gift shop where you can grab some lunch and souvenirs. Entry to the museum is free. If you’d like to know more about what you can explore at Chelmsford Museum, visit their website.   Hylands House As previously mentioned, Hylands House was used as a filming location for Netflix series The Crown, so if you’re a fan, you might like a to pay a visit to this Neo-Classical villa. It was originally built in 1730 by MP Sir John Comyns. Even if you don’t watch The Crown, you can take a guided tour around the house and take in its beautiful architecture. There are also several events that take place throughout the year at the house, park and stables. Admission to the house is free, and there is a café onsite where you can enjoy a hot meal and snacks. If you’d like to learn more about Hylands House, you can visit their website.   Hanningfield Waterside Park If you’d like to spend a day in the great outdoors with the family, take a trip to Hanningfield Waterside Park. Take a stroll through Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve, try your hand at fishing or let the children explore the number of play facilities available. It’s the perfect location for a picnic on a sunny day, but there is also a café and gift shop onsite where you can purchase refreshments. If you’d like to learn more about the events on offer at Hanningfield Waterside Park, visit their website.   Escape Live Whether you’re a pro, or you’d like to try your hand for the first time, Chelmsford boasts state of the art immersive escape-rooms. Each room allows you 60 minutes to try and escape by solving puzzles and answering questions. There are three themed rooms available, Escape the Jungle, Sword in the Throne and Star Quest, so there’s sure to be a theme that appeals to everyone in the family, the escape rooms are suitable for children and adults. Can you escape in 60 minutes? Prices vary, but start at £15 per person. If you’d like to book your escape adventure, check out Escape Live’s website.   Relocation to Chelmsford If you are an international doctor who would like to relocate to Chelmsford, or any other location in the UK, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to relocate to the UK. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to join the NHS and relocate to the UK. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast. You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.   References Bailey, H. and Webber, D. (2020). The 19 things you didn't know about Chelmsford. [online] essexlive. Available at: https://www.essexlive.news/news/essex-news/19-things-you-didnt-know-473356 [Accessed 24 Jan. 2020]. Living, C. and Kingdom, U. (2020). Cost of Living in Chelmsford. [online] Numbeo.com. Available at: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Chelmsford [Accessed 24 Jan. 2020]. Ukpopulation2019.com. (2020). Population Of Chelmsford 2019. [online] Available at: https://ukpopulation2019.com/population-of-chelmsford-2019.html [Accessed 24 Jan. 2020]. Aru.ac.uk. (2020). Top ten facts about Chelmsford - ARU. [online] Available at: https://aru.ac.uk/student-life/life-on-campus/chelmsford-campus/top-ten-facts-about-chelmsford [Accessed 24 Jan. 2020].  

EDIC Part 2 - An Overview

By Samantha Joubert
January 23, 2020

EDIC, the European Diploma of Intensive Care Medicine, is an examination that consists of two parts, and you will need to complete both parts, as well as passing IELTS or OET, in order to be eligible to obtain GMC registration. EDIC tests the theoretical competencies and professional conduct of doctors practicing intensive care medicine. As of June 2019, EDIC has become a GMC accepted postgraduate qualification, and only if you passed EDIC after January 2015. Upon completing EDIC and having passed either IELTS or OET, you will be eligible to apply for ST3+ roles within the NHS. In this article, we will be offering you an overview of Part 2 of EDIC, the format of the exam, how much it costs, and some study resources you can utilise. If you have yet to sit either part of EDIC, you can learn more about EDIC Part 1 and how to prepare for that in our previous blog article.   How much does it Cost? At the time of writing this article, EDIC Part 2 costs €480 Euros for members of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) and €680 for non-members.   Am I Eligible? In order to sit EDIC Part 2, you must be a fully registered medical doctor and have completed a year’s internship. You should also be enrolled in or have completed a national training programme in a primary specialty in one of the following: Anaesthesiology General/Internal Medicine (and other medicine specialities) General Surgery (and other surgical specialities) Accident & Emergency Medicine Paediatrics Intensive Care Medicine (if it is a primary specialty) In order to be eligible to sit Part 2, you must first have completed EDIC Part 1.   What languages can EDIC Part 2 be Sat in? The EDIC exams can only be sat in English, this is done to achieve standardisation. So, unfortunately, you will not be able to sit EDIC in any other languages.   EDIC Part 2 Format Part 2 is an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) in which there are six stations. There will be three clinical scenarios, and these will include imitation charts of real patients. The other three stations will be computer stations where you will be tested on reading and interpreting imaging, ECGs, biochemical scenarios, open questions and other topics. The examination should take roughly two hours, altogether. There will be two different examiners at each clinical skill station. At each computer-based skill station, a different examiner will interact with you. The exam may start with the clinical skill stations or the computer stations, so there is no guarantee which one you will be faced with first. Before entering the clinical scenario stations, you will first enter a preparation room in which you will be given any necessary material to prepare for the clinical scenarios. You will be allowed thirty minutes to prepare using the materials you’ve been provided with, after which, you will move to your first exam room.  The purpose of the clinical scenario stations is to test your professionalism and knowledge in this each situation using the information you’ve been provided with. This part of the examination likely won’t contain more than 3-4 competency domains. You will likely be presented with between 1-5 questions with up to five potential correct answers. ESICM has stated that the scenario will focus on an ICU admission or the days following an event during a patient’s ICU stay. You will be examined on how well you safely manage a particular scenario. You will not be given any time to prepare for the computer stations. The purpose of the computer stations is to test your knowledge and diagnostic skills. Each station will last fifteen minutes, twelve of these minutes will be used to answer questions, and you will be tested in three different Intensive Care medicine competency domains.  You will be presented with pictures or scenarios and these will vary between 8 and 12 per computer-based scenario, depending on how complex the question is. The following subjects will be covered within the examination: Disease Management Cardiovascular Disorders Renal and genitourinary disorders Neurological disorders Gastrointestinal disorders Respiratory disorders Infections Other disorders (haematologic; metabolic toxic; endocrine; peri-partum) Therapeutic Interventions / Organ System Support Medical treatment Organ system support Perioperative care Practical Procedures Respiratory system Cardiovascular system Central nervous system Patient General Care Resuscitation & initial management of the critically ill patient Comfort and recovery End-of-life care Patient safety and health management system   When can I Sit EDIC Part 2? Part 2 of EDIC is generally held in June and November every year, and test centres are able to accommodate 36 candidates. 500 seats are usually offered for EDIC Part 2 each year. Your exam centre will be allocated to you during the validation process and you will be notified of this.   Revision Resources ESICM has some useful study resources on their own website, which we will provide links for here. They offer an official EDIC Part 2 preparation course which covers both the clinical scenario and the computer-based portion of the exam, as well as offering mock examinations. You can learn more about the preparation course here. ESICM also has a fantastic website with revision resources called the ESICM Academy. You can find that here.   Facebook Groups You can often gain a lot from getting involved with Facebook groups, as members often provide resources and first-hand advice. EDIC European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM)   YouTube Given that Part 2 of EDIC is a practical exam, YouTube can be a particularly helpful study resource as it is so visual. EDIC 2 Exam Dr Tapas   Computer Based Scenario Resources Example Scenarios   Our Tips Our tips for passing EDIC Part 2 are: Give yourself time to study – Make sure you start preparing for the exam in advance so that you have enough time to revise all the relevant topics you will need to be well versed in. Utilise Resources – Utilise the resources, particularly the preparation course and information provided by ESICM, as these will be tailored to the exam and give you the best opportunity of passing. Use your exam time well – We really recommend utilising the 30 minutes you are provided with prior to the clinical scenario stations to really analyse any information you are given. It can be difficult to focus when you are nervous, but the more you read through the information they have provided you with, the more likely you will be to do well in this portion of the test.   If you Don’t Pass If you don’t pass the examination, you will need to wait 12 months before you can apply for the next exam to try again, and you will be allowed a maximum of three attempts. It can be discouraging if you don’t pass first time but use your experience to help you be better prepared for your next attempt. Ask yourself which areas were you confident in? Where did you struggle? Focus on improving any areas you found difficult, or felt you did poorly in, and with this experience and knowledge, you are far more likely to pass the next time you attempt the exam.   Good Luck! If you’re a doctor with EDIC, and you would like some support relocating to the UK and finding a job in the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your relocation journey. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer any relocation queries you may have. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on obtaining GMC registration and securing an NHS job.   References ESICM. (2020). EDIC Part II - ESICM. [online] Available at: https://www.esicm.org/education/edic2-2/edic-partll/ [Accessed 21 Jan. 2020]. Uems.eu. (2020). [online] Available at: https://www.uems.eu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/34080/05-EDIC2-CESMA-Bucharest16.pdf [Accessed 21 Jan. 2020].

5 Steps to GMC Registration

By Alice Howe
January 22, 2020

All doctors who want to work within the NHS will need to hold GMC registration with a full license to practice. In this blog post we will provide you with the 5 essential steps on how to obtain GMC registration.  1. Recognised Medical Qualifications (Primary Med and Internship) To be an eligible applicant for the GMC registration you will need to have passed all of the relevant examinations that constitute one of the ‘acceptable overseas medical qualifications’. Your primary medical degree must be listed on the World Directory of Primary Medical Qualifications, which can be found here Within your Primary Medical Qualification you must have completed an acceptable internship, which constitutes of at least 12 months of continuous medical practice in an approved training post in a public hospital. You must also have obtained three months in surgery and three months in medicine. To find out more information about acceptable internships or what to do if you haven’t completed an internship, please visit: https://bit.ly/2RBiwj4 2. English Language Qualifications In order to obtain your GMC you will be asked to evidence that you have the relevant knowledge of the English Language to ensure you can practice safely in the UK. When doing this there are two routes available, both of which are required to have been completed within the last two years prior to your application. Please note, if you took the IELTS or OET more than two years ago you will be required to take them again. The first route is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). In order to be successful, you need a score of at least 7.0 in each testing area and an overall score of 7.5. You can then enter these on the ‘My Tests’ section of your GMC online account. The second route is the Occupational English Test (OET). Here you’ll need a B grade in each of the four testing areas (speaking, listening, reading and writing).   Please note, you will need to obtain either IELTS or OET in order to move onto the next step of the process (sitting your PLAB test). However, if you have already obtained a Postgraduate qualification (I.e MRCP) or you are working towards one, you can sit your English Language test at any time. 3. Evidencing your Knowledge and Skills The GMC requires you to evidence your knowledge and skills to them to demonstrate that you can practice safely in the UK. This can be done via three routes. The first route in evidencing your knowledge and skills, aimed primarily at Junior Doctors that are newly qualified, is taking the PLAB exam. PLAB is an English Language test that focuses on you practising and evidencing your English in a medical setting. To find out more about the breakdown of PLAB and how to enter, please visit our Blog Post. The second route, which is primarily for more experienced Doctors, is completing one of the approved GMC post graduate qualifications. A list of both UK and International qualifications that are accepted for GMC can be found here The third route in evidencing your knowledge and skills is don through the MTI Scheme, which is gaining sponsorship through an NHS hospital. Further information can be found here 4. Collating your documentation Before applying for your GMC registration, it is important you collate all of the required documents. These documents include: Proof of your primary medical qualification (See Step 1) Certificate of Experience (Internship/Clerkship/FY1) Certificate of Good Standing – which is the registration or licensing for all of the medical authorities that you have practiced for within the last five years For further information on obtaining your COGS, please read our blog post here. Proof of Identity (Passport or identity card if it states your nationality) Employer references (and translations of them) EPIC Verification Certificate 5. Application, Fee and ID Check Once you’ve completed steps 1-4 and have all of your evidence ready to send off, you will need to register for GMC Online, choosing ‘my registration’ and ‘start application’. Once you have started your application, you will then be required to upload all of your documentation (discussed in step 4). After this has been done, you will be asked to pay a registration fee which is dependent on your previous experience. If you obtained your Primary Medical Qualification within the last 5 years your registration fee is currently £153. However, this is due to change in April 2020, increasing to £156. However, if you are not a newly qualified doctor and therefore obtained your primary medical qualification prior to the last 5 years, the fee for registration is £399. This is also due to change in April 2020, increasing to £406. Further information can be found here Finally, once having paid your fee and sending off all your relevant documentation, you will be invited via the GMC online portal to an ID check at one of the GMC offices in either London or Manchester. You have three months after your application has been approved to attend the check. Please note, most doctors coincide their relocation to the UK for their NHS job with their ID check, so timings are everything! At the identity check, your proof of identity will be checked over and your photograph will be taken. This concludes the GMC Registration process. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who has decided that you would like our support in securing an NHS service post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS job and on your journey to the UK today. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References Gmc-uk.org. (2020). Full registration for international medical graduates. [online] Available at: https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/registration-applications/application-guides/full-registration-for-international-medical-graduates [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020]. Gmc-uk.org. (2020). Evidence of your internship or experience. [online] Available at: https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/registration-applications/application-guides/full-registration-for-international-medical-graduates/your-internship [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020]. Gmc-uk.org. (2020). Your activities for the last five years. [online] Available at: https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/registration-applications/application-guides/full-registration-for-european-doctors-who-graduated-in-an-eea-country-or-switzerland/your-activities-for-the-last-five-years [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020].

Tips for Saving Money on your Energy Bill

By Samantha Joubert
January 22, 2020

As it’s Big Energy Saving Week, we wanted to share some tips on ways that you can reduce your energy bill, and more importantly, do your bit to save the planet. According to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, in 2018, “energy consumption growth was driven by natural gas, which contributed to more than 40% of the increase.” As such, any change we can make to reduce our energy consumption can only be beneficial.   How can I use less water?   Spend One Minute Less in the Shower Energy Saving Trust.org reports that if every person in a family of four spent one minute less in the shower each day, they could save an impressive £75 a year on energy bills! So, if someone in your family takes long showers, imagine how much money could be saved if they cut five minutes off their shower time!   Use a Washing up Bowl Instead of running water continuously to wash your dishes, fill a washing up bowl with water and wash your dishes in the bowl. This may seem like you’re using more water, but you’d be surprised how much water is wasted just by leaving the tap running whilst washing your dishes!   Turn the Tap off! It can be easy to forget, but try to turn the tap off whilst you’re brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face, and you could save 6 litres of water every minute by making this small change to your morning and evening routines!   Use your Washing Machine for one less Cycle Try to reduce the amount of times you use your washing machine a week, by doing even one less cycle, you can make a surprising difference to your energy bill.   Only Fill the Kettle with the Water you Need Instead of filling the kettle up to the maximum level each time you use it, only fill it up with as much water as you need at a given time.   Replace your Shower Head Change your shower head to a water efficient one, and you could save yourself £70 a year on gas and a whopping £115 a year on your water bill, not only will this make a huge difference in saving the planet, but you could put that money towards something else.   Monitor your Taps! Energy Saving Trust.org has reported that dripping taps can waste more than 5,300 litres of water a year! As such, make sure that your taps are properly turned off, and its recommended that you regularly change the washers on your taps if you notice that they’re beginning to drip.   How can I use Less Electricity?   Use Energy Efficient Bulbs Where possible, try to replace standard lightbulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs. This change could save you £35 on your yearly energy bill.   Buy Energy Efficient Appliances In the UK, many appliances come with energy grades, with A+++ being the best for the environment and your energy bill, and G being the worst. When it’s time to replace your current fridge, dishwasher or washing machine, or if you’re just relocating to the UK and looking to buy new appliances for your home, try to buy products that have an energy rating of A+++ if possible, to save yourself the most money on your electricity bill.   Switch Off Try to remember to switch lights off if you’re not using them, as well as other electrical appliances such as TVs, computers, and even chargers. By switching lights off when you’re not using them, you could save £14 a year on energy bills. Also, if you have an appliance in standby mode, make sure to switch it off, this could save you £30 a year. This might not seem like a lot, but these small changes combined with others on this list can add up at the end of the year!   Wash Clothing on a Lower Temperature Where possible, try to wash your clothes on a lower temperature, such as washing on 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees. Many newer washing machines now have ECO cycles and energy saving settings that you can utilise as well.   How can I use Less Gas?   Set a Timer If your central heating system allows you to set the time that the heating comes on, utilise this so that it only heats the house when you’re home and doesn’t waste energy by warming the house when no one will be home to benefit from this.   Turn Your Thermostat Down If possible, try to turn your thermostat down by one degree, this small change can save you an impressive 10% on your energy bill at the end of the month!   Close Blinds and Curtains in the Evening This is likely something you do anyway, but did you know that by closing blinds and curtains around your house in the evening, it prevents heat from escaping out of the house through the windows?   Seal any Cracks in Windows, Doors and Skirting Boards Following on from the previous tip, you can save £20 a year on your energy bill by sealing up any cracks or draughts in windows, doors and skirting boards and you can prevent heat from escaping your home.   Get Double Glazing and Insulate your Home Double glazed windows provide less room for heat to escape from your house than single glazed windows do, and can save you £110 a year on energy bills. If possible, also try to get your roof and loft insulated, again, whilst this can be costly initially, by doing this, less heat will escape from your home, and you can save yourself up to £135 a year by doing this, so it is actually beneficial in the long run.   Install a Smart Thermostat Smart thermostats can save you money as they will only heat the rooms you are spending time in, and they can learn how long it takes to heat your home so that your property is heated efficiently. Having a smart thermostat installed can save you £75 a year!   Monitor Your Usage Our final recommendation is to monitor your energy consumption. An easy way to track your usage is to have a smart meter installed in your home, this way, you can easily see where your energy consumption is highest, and make plans to reduce this.   How Much Could I Save a Year? The amount you could save on your energy bills a year will vary vastly depending on how many of these tips you decide to follow, how many people are in your family, the size of your home and the kind of energy saving techniques you may already have in place, so we cannot give you a definitive answer. However, we will strive to give you a very rough estimate based on a family of four. Energy Saving  Money Saved Using a washing up bowl £12 Reduce washing machine use by 1 cycle £12 Only fill kettle when needed £12 Spend 1 minute less in the shower a day £75 Replacing your shower head with an energy efficient one £185 Switch to energy efficient lightbulbs £35 Switch off lights when you're not using them £14 Switch off appliances in standy £30 Seal up draughts in doors, windows and skirting boards £20 Get double glazing put in £110 Insulate your roof and attic £135 Have a smart thermostat installed £75 Total Saved: £715 As you can see, if you make some small changes to your daily habits, and some changes to your home, you can save a great deal of money each year, money that could be put towards a holiday for your family, or something you’ll all enjoy, with the added benefit of doing your part to save the environment.   Relocating to the UK If you’re an international doctor hoping to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we would be happy to help you on your relocation journey. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast! You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and Buzzsprout. We have several episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this. Keep your eyes peeled for the second season of our podcast, coming soon!   References Bp.com. (2020). [online] Available at: https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/statistical-review/bp-stats-review-2019-full-report.pdf [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020]. Energy Saving Trust. (2020). Big Energy Saving Week 2020. [online] Available at: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/big-energy-saving-week-2020 [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020]. Moneysupermarket.com. (2020). Energy Saving Tips | How To Reduce Bills | MoneySuperMarket. [online] Available at: https://www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity/energy-saving-tips/ [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020].  

Ofsted: UK School Inspection Report

By Gabrielle Richardson
January 17, 2020

Ofsted stands for the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. It is an independent body that reports directly to Parliament. Ofsted inspects services in the UK that provide education and skills for learners of all ages. Each week, Ofsted carry out hundreds of inspections and regulatory visits throughout England publish the results online. The body has around 1,800 employees across 8 regions: East Midlands East of England North East, Yorkshire and Humber North West South East South West West Midlands London Ofsted is responsible for: The inspection and regulation of educational institutions including independent schools, state schools, academies and childcare facilities The inspection of agencies responsible for adoption, fostering and other social care services The inspection of other services for children and young people Carry out research on education and social care Reporting on the above institutions and relaying the information to the government What is an Ofsted rating and why is it important to me? When you are researching into the school that you want your child to attend, it is essential to look at the school’s Ofsted rating as it will give an indication into its quality of teaching and pupils’ achievements. There are four Ofsted ratings: Grade 1: Outstanding An outstanding school provides exceptionally well for the needs of its pupils and prepares them for the next stage of their education or employment at the highest possible level.  Grade 2: Good A good school provides well for the needs of its pupils and prepares them effectively for the next stage of their education or employment. Grade 3: Requires Improvement A school that requires improvement is not inadequate, but neither is it satisfactory. Grade 4: Inadequate An inadequate school has significant weaknesses and is failing to prepare its students effectively for the next stages of their lives. The management and leadership, however, are judged to be Grade 3 and above. To search for a school’s Ofsted report, click here. When you are reading a school’s report, look out for their scores in: Leadership and management Behaviour and safety of pupils Quality of teaching Achievement of pupils Summary Final judgements Please note if you are relocating to Wales, the school inspection body is called Estyn - https://www.estyn.gov.wales/ If you are relocating to Scotland, you can search their reports here - https://www.mygov.scot/school-inspection-reports/ Northern Ireland can be found here - https://www.etini.gov.uk/ Childcare If you are a doctor that has children younger than school age, please have a read of our blog post on the childcare options available in the UK. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who has decided that you would like our support in securing an NHS service post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS job and on your journey to the UK today. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References Engage Education. (2020). What is OFSTED? | Educational Standards - Engage Education. [online] Available at: https://engage-education.com/blog/video-article/ [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020].

A snapshot of...West Yorkshire

By Samantha Joubert
January 16, 2020

West Yorkshire is a Metropolitan county in the North of England, and consists of cities, towns and villages including Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield and Huddersfield. West Yorkshire has an impressive population of 2.32 million and is known for its picturesque countryside and of course, its famous Yorkshire Dales, as well as its diverse community. In this article, we will be providing a glimpse of what it’s like to live in the different areas within West Yorkshire, and why it’s a fantastic county to relocate to.   Facts About West Yorkshire Keighley, a town in West Yorkshire, was the first British town to be twinned with a European town. On the outskirts of Leeds stands Middleton Colliery Railway, which is the oldest continuously operated railway in the world! Construction on the railway itself first commenced in 1755! Harry Ramsden’s, near Leeds, was the largest chip shop, with the original shop measuring 10 foot by 6 foot. Two of Yorkshire’s largest cities, Leeds and Bradford, are located in West Yorkshire. In 1888, a man named Louis le Prince recorded the first moving images and used Leeds Garden to achieve this. Two years after this achievement, he mysteriously disappeared! While English is the main language spoken in Yorkshire, its diverse community means that many school children speak more than one language. Yorkshire’s most well-known food is the Yorkshire pudding, which we would recommend trying with a roast dinner.   Where should I live?   Bradford Bradford is one of the largest cities in Yorkshire and is known for its arts and culture. Perhaps a reflection of this, one of Britain’s most well-known artists, David Hockney grew up in Bradford. Whilst West Yorkshire as a whole is known for its diverse community, it has been reported that 43% of primary school children in Bradford consider English to be their second language, making it an excellent city to locate to if a range of cultures is particularly important to you. There are two United Nationals Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sites in Bradford and it is also the first UNESCO city of film. Bradford is steeped in history, and you can find a great deal of beautiful Victorian architecture. It’s also home to a fantastic museum, galleries and a cathedral.   Calderdale Calderdale is a town, part of the South Pennines and is located to the South of the famous Yorkshire Dales. The South Pennines is known for its beautiful rivers and moorland, making it a scenic place to live. It is conveniently located between Leeds and Manchester, making it an excellent location if you don’t want to live in a large city, but would like to be able to work or make use of the facilities these cities have to offer. It’s a particularly great location if you enjoy the outdoors and hope to take long walks, bike rides and spend time outside.   Kirklees Kirklees is home to smaller towns, so again, an excellent place to relocate if you don’t want to live in a big city but want to be close to Leeds and Manchester. A wonderful location if you want to learn more about the history of Yorkshire, there are number of historic villages to explore, and you will also be able to sample its local produce. Kirklees is also known for its excellent schools and reasonable house prices.   Wakefield Wakefield is located in the heart of Yorkshire and is known for its beautiful cathedral. Similarly to Kirklees and Calderdale, it’s an excellent location if you wish to be close to Leeds, and it also offers great transport links to Doncaster. Its surrounding towns and villages also offer a great deal of history and culture.   Huddersfield Huddersfield is a town known for its rich culture and diversity of international foods. There are several free museums located in Huddersfield if you’d like to delve into Yorkshire’s history in your free time. There are also a number of family events such as live music and children’s craft workshops available on weekends. It’s also close to Leeds, Bradford and Manchester if you wish to venture further afield.   Leeds Like Bradford, Leeds is one of the largest cities in Yorkshire. It is considered to be a modern and lively city, whilst also being close to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Leeds has a great deal to offer, with museums, shopping and culture, it’s a hive of activity, whether you choose to live here, or just wish to be nearby. Well known for its shopping and culture, there are many events and festivals held here throughout the year, and it’s the perfect place to relocate to if you want a lively and cultural experience. Leeds is also known for its excellent education and is home to three fantastic universities. If you’d like to know more about Leeds, we’ve written an entire article about what it’s like to live there.   Cost of Living   Renting Accommodation Per Month One-Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre £660.23 One-Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre £499.48 Three-Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre £1,150 Three-Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre £810.43   Transportation 1ltr Petrol £1.28 One-Way Public Transport Ticket £2.50 Monthly Transport Ticket £60 1km Taxi Journey £1.55   Entertainment Meal out for two in a local pub £24 Meal out for two in a mid-range restaurant, three courses £40 Cinema tickets for two people £16 One month gym membership £26.58 Tennis court rental for 1 hour on the weekend £10.30 Beer 0.5ltr bottle £3.75 Coke/Pepsi 0.33ltr bottle £1.05 Cappuccino £2.64   Time it Takes to Travel by train to other areas in the UK Manchester: 1 Hour 39 Minutes Newcastle: 2 Hours 32 Minutes Birmingham: 2 Hours 53 Minutes London: 3 Hours 20 Minutes Liverpool: 2 Hours 20 Minutes Edinburgh: 4 Hours 16 Minutes Bristol: 4 Hours 22 Minutes Cardiff: 4 Hours 55 Minutes   Education in West Yorkshire   Leeds There are 255 primary schools, 66 secondary schools and 48 sixth forms and colleges in Leeds, and one of the UK’s largest universities can also be found here. Most of the schools in Leeds have received an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ whilst some have also received a rating of ‘outstanding’. Bradford There are 188 primary schools, 62 secondary schools, 49 sixth forms and colleges in Bradford, as well as a university. The majority of schools in Bradford have received an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ but many have also been awarded the ‘outstanding’ rating. Wakefield Wakefield has 124 primary schools, 36 secondary schools and 22 sixth forms and colleges. Like Bradford, most of the schools have been awarded an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ but a fair number have also received ‘outstanding’. Calderdale In Calderdale, there are 99 primary schools. 25 secondary schools and 18 sixth forms and colleges. A few schools in the area have been awarded ‘outstanding’ ratings from Ofsted, and many have also received ‘good’. Kirklees There are 168 primary schools, 50 secondary schools and 17 sixth forms and colleges. Most schools have been awarded ‘good’ ratings by Ofsted, but an impressive number have also received ‘outstanding’. Huddersfield Huddersfield is home to 31 primary schools, 11 secondary schools, 5 sixth forms and colleges, and it also has its own university. The vast majority of schools in the area have received ‘good’ ratings from Ofsted, with a few also being awarded ‘outstanding’ ratings. Overall, education in West Yorkshire is considered to be excellent, with a number of universities, and most of the schools in the area receiving ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ ratings from Ofsted.   Things to do in West Yorkshire   Eureka! National Children’s Museum A fantastic family day out, Eureka! National Children’s Museum is located in Calderdale and is tailored to children aged 0-11. The museum boasts over 400 interactive exhibitions that actually allow children to handle the exhibits in order to explore the world around them.  The museum is open from 10:00-16:00 every day but is closed on Mondays, and tickets are priced at £13.95 for adults and children over 3 years of age. The fee for children between 1 and 2 years is £5.95, and children under 1 receive free entry.   Kirkgate Market Kirkgate Market reportedly brings in 10 million visitors every year and is the largest indoor market in Europe! Whether you’re shopping for clothes or food, the market boasts 600 stalls, 400 indoors and 200 outdoors, and with its diverse array of cultures, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs. The market hall itself is a listed, Edwardian building, so if you’re a fan of architecture, you’re sure to enjoy roaming through the stalls and taking in the sights of the building. You will also be able to find a farmer’s market on Sundays, and themed stalls throughout the year.   Alhambra Theatre The perfect evening out for those who enjoy some culture, Alhambra Theatre is known for hosting some of the largest scale events in Yorkshire such as musicals and dramas and is even home to Yorkshire’s biggest pantomime. You’ll also be able to enjoy ballet, Shakespeare, Disney, comedy and much more. If you’re feeling peckish before the show, there’s even a fantastic front of house space where you can wine and dine. They also have the Circle Café if you would prefer some coffee and a slice of cake.   Oakwell Hall Built in 1583, Oakwell Hall is a stately home that allows you to step back into British history and get a glimpse of life might have been like all those years ago. If you’re a fan of history and architecture, Oakwell Hall is a perfect day out, explore the home at your leisure, and even venture out into the 100 acres worth of gardens! Charlotte Brontë visited the house in the 19th century and was reportedly inspired to write it into her novel, Shirley, as ‘Fieldhead’. You can also find a visitor centre and gift shop if you wish to purchase a memento of your trip. If you’d like to stop for a bite to eat, there are picnic benches and a playground for children, or a café, if it’s a rainy day. The Hall is open on weekends and school holidays only, so the perfect place to visit during half-term. Entry is £3.50 for adults, £1 for children and £8 for family of two adults and up to four children.   Pugneys Country Park Located in the west of Wakefield city centre, Pugneys Country Park is the perfect day out if you’re seeking a bit of adventure. The park offers sailing, windsurfing and canoeing tuition and equipment hire, as well as bike rental if you’d prefer to take a leisurely cycle around the park. On a sunny day, there are a variety of walks providing beautiful views of Calder Valley. The lake that can be found at the heart of the park is a designated local nature reserve where you can experience and enjoy the wildlife that the UK has to offer. There is also a 100 acre water sports lake where you can experience the aforementioned sailing, windsurfing and canoeing. Whilst the park is the perfect venue for a family picnic, a café is also situated at the main reception.   Leeds City Museum Leeds Museum is free to enter, and open every day, except Mondays. Having opened in 1821, the museum has built a fantastic array of exhibitions from ancient Egypt to the natural world. There are a number of interactive galleries for children, craft sessions hosted during the school holidays, and a Community Choir for adults. After you’ve finished exploring the treasures of the past, you can relax and enjoy the on-site café and gift shop.   Relocation to West Yorkshire If you’re an international doctor looking to relocate to West Yorkshire, or another location in the UK, please email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to relocate to the UK. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of vlogs and blogs into the group every single day. We will also be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast. You can find us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.   References BuzzFeed. (2020). 47 Things You Might Not Know About Yorkshire. [online] Available at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/yorkshire-facts [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020]. Kirklees.gov.uk. (2020). About Kirklees | Kirklees Council. [online] Available at: https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/executive-recruitment/about-kirklees.aspx [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020]. Anon, (2020). [online] Available at: https://www.visitcalderdale.com/ [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020]. Visitbradford.com. (2020). Discover Bradford. [online] Available at: https://www.visitbradford.com/bradford.aspx [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020]. Experiencewakefield.co.uk. (2020). Events, attractions and things to do in Wakefield, Castleford, Pontefract & more.. [online] Available at: https://www.experiencewakefield.co.uk/ [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020]. Information-britain.co.uk. (2020). Interesting facts from West Yorkshire. [online] Available at: http://www.information-britain.co.uk/countydidyouknow.php?county=97 [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020]. Times, Y. (2020). Yorkshire Times. [online] Yorkshire Times. Available at: https://yorkshiretimes.co.uk/facts.php [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020]. trail, L. (2020). Learn about lively Huddersfield on a walking trail. [online] VisitEngland. Available at: https://www.visitengland.com/experience/luddites-ghosts-pick-heritage-trail-huddersfield [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020]. Visitleeds.co.uk. (2020). Visit Leeds. [online] Available at: https://www.visitleeds.co.uk/ [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020]. Kirklees.gov.uk. (2020). Visitors | Kirklees Council. [online] Available at: https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/visitors/index.aspx [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020].  

Questions to ask at the end of your NHS Interview

By Gabrielle Richardson
January 15, 2020

The journey to obtaining full GMC Registration with a licence to practice requires hard work, determination and passion. So, when the time comes to begin applying for NHS posts, it is a rather exciting time. However, it is essential that you are prepared well so you can demonstrate to the hospital that you are the perfect doctor for the job available. An interview is not just about reciting well-rehearsed answers to common question, it is an opportunity for a conversation between you and your prospective NHS Trust, a chance to build rapport, impress and gather essential information. When you are preparing and sitting your interview, consider the following: Research into the hospital, the department and the local area Make a good impression Positive body language Sound upbeat and positive Handle questions with confidence Correctly answer the clinical scenario Finish the interview on a confident note Example questions to ask at the end of an NHS interview: 1. Can you tell me more specifically about your department and why you have this opening? This question provides the department with the opportunity to tell you about the size of the department, the number of doctors and nurses working within it and the volume of patients seen. This will help provide you with an indication of the responsibilities and whether that meets your expectations. 2. What will a typical day/a weekly rota look like? Here you can get an indication into your hours, patients you will see, on-call schedule and weekend schedules and how the department is generally run. 3. What are the ultimate goals for this medical institution? It is important to first consider your own personal goals: What drove you into medicine? Why do you enjoy being a doctor? Then during the interview, you can find out the department’s goals and if your goals align, how you can help work towards those goals. 4. Will there be an opportunity to progress? This will show the department your ambition to succeed, it emphasises that you are conscious about your future career in the UK and that you indend to within that NHS Trust. It is always a good idea to be aware about progression opportunities as you do not want to later realise that there is no scope to move up. 5. Is there an opportunity for an induction? How will my performance be measured? Asking this will show that you want to develop your skills and you are striving to succeed within your new NHS role. 6. What are the next steps of the process? Some HR departments take a while to get back to you, so by asking this it can give you a rough idea of when you should expect to hear by and save you from excessively checking your emails. It is also a good neutral question to end on as it is a good way to draw the interview to a close. 7. What will my first three months look like? By asking this question, you will get a great insight into the induction period and it will allow the department to discuss the job role with you with specifics such as the supernumary rora. 8. How will my job change over the first year or so? If you are a senior doctor with CESR secondments as part of your job, this will usually happen after the first 12 months and so, it gives the hospital a chance to mention this. Depending on what the hospital offers you, it will usually help you decide whether this opportunity is for you. 9. Will there be an opportunity to take part in formal training? Most doctors are ALS/BLS providers and you will need to have the required qualification. Some doctors have a true passion for it and hospitals will give those docotrs the chance to explore this. If not, this question could be interpreted as "Could I take these courses as a student?" so, the hospital will see it as something positive. either way. If you would like help with answering the questions asked by the NHS department, have a read of our blog post here where we provide example NHS interview questions with answers. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who has decided that you would like our support in securing an NHS service post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS job and on your journey to the UK today. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS!

Reflective Practice

By Samantha Joubert
January 10, 2020

Reflective practice is the exercise of analysing events that have been significant during your learning, training or employment in medicine. Not only is this an important technique to reflect on your own behaviours, but it will also be expected for revalidation, which we explained in a previous blog. In this article we will cover the topic of reflective practice, why it’s important and how you can do it. We should note that this article just offers an overview of the information provided by the GMC, and that for a more detailed explanation of reflective practice, you may refer to the GMC website.   What is Reflective Practice? The practice of reflecting in the UK has been endorsed and developed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans (COPMED), the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Medical Schools Council (MSC). It is considered an important way for doctors to look after their own wellbeing, as well as improve their practice for future patients. Medical students and doctors in training are expected to demonstrate their reflections in order to prove that they have developed good coping techniques to deal with the multitude of situations they are placed in. It is also necessary for revalidation, in which you are required to show the GMC that you are up to date and fit to practice. Reflective practice is the act of setting some time aside to analyse and look back on an event that has had a significant impact on you. This could have been something that took place during your learning, training, or whilst you have been employed. It is important to note that the events you reflect on do not have to be negative in nature, they can be positive too, the main focus is on an event that made an impact on you, that changed your perspective or the way you practice. Equally, it could also be an event that confirmed a certain belief for you that reinforces the way you practice. The events you reflect on don’t necessarily have to be situations you were directly involved in, you may reflect on an event you observed, a clinical interaction, a complaint or feedback you, or someone else received, reading or research, a meeting you attended, a conversation you had with a patient or colleague or even something you experienced during your training or studies that had a strong impact on you.   Why is Reflective Practice Important? Reflecting is important for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, reflection helps doctors to assess how well they are performing in their practice. By identifying a situation where perhaps, they could have acted differently, they could work to improve how they react to a similar situation in future, which will be beneficial for both the patient and the doctor. Many specialities actually incorporate reflective practice into their curriculums in order to help doctors start practicing reflection early in their medical career.  Reflection should also act to examine certain beliefs you may have about your practice. If an event challenges your beliefs, it can help you to approach a certain type of scenario in a new way. By practicing reflection, you will also demonstrate to colleagues and to future employers that you take a professional approach to your career development and that you value self-improvement. Not only can this prove beneficial to your relationships in your current working environment, but it will also reflect well on you in future interviews and job applications. Finally, as previously mentioned, it will be massively helpful for your own wellbeing. Reflecting on a difficult situation that you felt negatively about will help you to process your thoughts and feelings about the situation and hopefully, move on from it, and reflecting on situations that were positive will help to strengthen and build your confidence.   How Should I Practice Reflection? The GMC states that reflection should be part of a doctor’s everyday practice. The more often you do this, the more comfortable you will be with the concept. You should record your reflections in the event that you need to refer to them or share them, whether this is with an educational supervisor or a panel in significant events. Some e-portfolios will have spaces where you can record your reflections, or you could simply keep a record in a reflective diary or journal. It is recommended that you find somewhere to keep all of your reflections in one place, rather than recording them separately, this way they are well organised and easy to refer to. Some doctors like to make short notes immediately after an event to record the main details, and then come back to them and reflect fully on them later when they have the time and space to do so. You should try to set some time aside, if possible, to reflect without disruptions or distractions. When recording your reflections, try to be open and honest about an event, and particularly about how you felt. The content of the event itself does not need to be a detailed account of the situation, and importantly, it should not seek to place blame, as the purpose of reflection is not to document the factual information surrounding the event, as if it was a Significant Incident, it should be reported and the facts will be recorded elsewhere. Instead, you should focus on how you felt about the situation, any feedback you received, what you learned, and any changes you plan to make as a result of this event.  Some hospitals will have groups where you can practice reflection together, and you should be supported in being able to take the time and space to do this. An important thing to keep in mind when practicing reflection is that you will need to ensure that your reflections are anonymised, this is to adhere to confidentiality and information governance requirements. Any information about patients, relatives of patients and colleagues should be fully anonymised, as well as the location, time and date. The AoMRC, COPMED, MSC and GMC have provided a useful toolkit to help doctors learn how to reflect, and offer examples of reflections which you can read here. To give a brief overview though, they provide a framework of What? So What? Now What? To help structure the way you approach reflections. What? – This first part is where you should analyse your thoughts, actions and decisions at the time of the event, and how those three things had in impact on one another. The question they recommend you ask yourself is “what was I thinking when I took the actions or made the decision that I did?” So What? – For this second step, you should think about the significance of the situation that took place, as well as the feelings and values evoked by the event. They recommend you consider “how did I feel at the time or after the experience? Why was it important?” Now What? – For this final step, you should consider the opportunities and steps that can help you learn from the experience and alter or affirm future actions and development. It’s recommended that you ask, “what can I learn from or do differently next time?”   Do I need to Provide My Reflections to Anyone? When it comes to Revalidation, the GMC will expect you to be able to evidence that you are practicing reflection. That said, the GMC will usually not request documentation, just evidence that you are effectively reflecting on events. The reason they require this is to ensure that you are maintaining Good Medical Practice. In rare events, courts may acquire reflective notes if they feel that they are relevant to a case, but the GMC does not automatically ask doctors to provide their notes when investigating complaints or cases, only if they feel that a doctor’s reflective notes could offer real insight into the situation. Reflective notes must be disclosed if ordered by a judge or court officer or by statue. A final note on reflective practice is that there is no one way to do it, it is a personal experience, so you should find the best way that works for you. As long as you record this information and anonymise the details, and set some time aside to practice reflection, everything else is personal preference. This article has offered an overview of the advice and information provided on the GMC website, for further advice and tools, please refer to their website.   Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor hoping to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we would be happy to help you on your journey to relocate. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and blogs into the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 50 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with the IMG Advisor Podcast! You can find us on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify and Buzzsprout. We have several episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this. Keep your eyes peeled for the second season of our podcast, coming soon!   References Oxforddeanery.nhs.uk. (2020). Advice on Reflective Practice. [online] Available at: http://www.oxforddeanery.nhs.uk/trainees/advice_on_reflective_practice.aspx [Accessed 10 Jan. 2020]. Oxforddeanery.nhs.uk. (2020). [online] Available at: http://www.oxforddeanery.nhs.uk/pdf/Reflective%20Practice%20Toolkit.pdf [Accessed 10 Jan. 2020]. Oxforddeanery.nhs.uk. (2020). [online] Available at: http://www.oxforddeanery.nhs.uk/pdf/The%20reflective%20practitioner%20guidance.pdf [Accessed 10 Jan. 2020]. Oxforddeanery.nhs.uk. (2020). [online] Available at: http://www.oxforddeanery.nhs.uk/pdf/Summary%20of%20The%20reflective%20practitioner%20guidance.pdf [Accessed 10 Jan. 2020]. Wessexdeanery.nhs.uk. (2020). Reflective Practice. [online] Available at: http://www.wessexdeanery.nhs.uk/trainee_revalidation/reflective_practice.aspx [Accessed 10 Jan. 2020]. Copmed.org.uk. (2020). Reflective Practice - Conference Of Postgraduate Medical Deans. [online] Available at: https://www.copmed.org.uk/publications/reflective-practice [Accessed 10 Jan. 2020].  

How to open a UK Bank Account

By Gabrielle Richardson
January 09, 2020

Having a local bank account is essential for life in the UK; your NHS salary will be paid directly into it, you will need it to obtain a mobile contract, set up household bills and a debit card to pay for every day life. In this blog post, we discuss the documents you will need, fees and charges involved, how to choose which high street bank to bank with and credit cards. It is important to note that there is no legal barrier to opening a UK bank account as an international doctor, but each bank does have its own products which come with different rates, terms and conditions. So, you should always read the fine print before you agree to open an account with them. Documents needed To open a bank in the UK, you will need to evidence your identity, address, salary and your biometric residence permit (BRP). This allows banks to maintain their security and ensure accounts are not used for illegal activity. 1. Proof of Identification To evidence your identity, you will need to show a current photo ID. Typically, doctors use a valid passport to do so. Other documents are accepted such as your driving licence or your BRP. 2. Proof of Address Each high street bank has their own list of documents that they will accept for your proof of address. So, you will need to double check exactly what your chosen bank requires before you visit the branch to open up your account. Typically, doctors use an Air B n B address or hospital accommodation. 3. Salary As you will not have an available credit history, the bank may ask you to provide evidence of your yearly salary. You can obtain this evidence from your hospital’s HR department. Try and obtain this letter before you attend your appointment at the bank. 4. BRP Evidencing your BRP is needed to confirm your right to reside in the UK. Doctors typically receive their BRP 3-7 days after arriving. All documents must usually be original, issued within the last three months and show your full name and UK address. The Application Process The process can differ slightly depending on the bank. We advise that you call the branch in ahead of attending in person and confirm the documents that you need to open up an account. The typical steps are: Collect all of the required documentation Complete the banks application form Book an appointment at a local branch of your choice Attend your appointment to show your original documents Make a deposit It can take a few days for your bank card and security number (PIN) to arrive in the post Please note, it can sometimes take a week or two to book an appointment in busy high street branches i.e. in major cities, so, planning ahead is essential. How much does it cost? Opening up a UK bank account is typically free; however, you may be required to have a certain amount paid into your account each month. With regards to ATM fees, typically high street cash machines are free to use if you have a UK-issued debit card. However, ATM machines you find in airports, train stations or pubs may charge a fee for cash withdrawals, usually around £1.50-3 per transaction. The machine will always notify you that there is a charge to use the service so, do check the screen before you enter your card and PIN. How to choose your high street bank Everybody’s banking needs are personal. If you have a healthy balance with lots of savings, you may be interested in the bank that pays the most interest. Or potentially, to aid your relocation you might seek a bank that does not charge for you to use their overdraft facilities. Click here to compare high street banks. Monzo Monzo was established in 2016 and it is a bank that will live on your smartphone and it is completely free to use. The bank allows you to sort your salary when you get paid into spending, saving and bills. You are able to set specific spending budgets for different categories, such as your food shop, entertainment or eating out so, you can track how well you are doing for each month. There are two main advantages to Monzo. The first is that you can withdraw up to £200 per month abroad for free, from £200+ you will be charged 3%. Second, you can open up an account by simply uploading your passport and a video of yourself to the app. Applications are usually accepted in 1-2 days. For further information, please click here. How I open a UK bank account from overseas? Depending on what country you are residing in, you may be able to open up a UK bank account from overseas. Many British banks have a correspondent banking relationship with countries overseas. These accounts are designed for non-residents, so they are the perfect option if you cannot evidence a UK address. Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and NatWest offer international accounts. However, typically opening an international account from outside the UK can require a large initial deposit and you must commit to pay in a minimum amount of money each month. Some banks will charge you a monthly fee in addition to these requirements. Can I get a UK credit card? As you will be new to the UK, you might have difficulty getting access to credit, even if you did have good credit history in your home country. Credit reference agencies in the UK do not share data with similar agencies overseas, so when you first arrive in the UK, it is essentially like you are “invisible” to lenders and because they do not have any record of what you are like with money, therefore you might find it is harder to take out a credit card and loans. If you have made an application for credit but been refused, it is not sensible to make too many applications. Lots of applications in a short space of time could damage your credit history, even if you have not been successful with your applications. What can I do? If you had good credit in your home country, you could contact your bank manager and ask them to provide you with a reference to your local branch in the UK. You could also consider applying for a “Credit Card Builder”, a credit card available for those building their credit. You should note that these cards often have higher interest rates, with the average interest rate 30% (January 2020). Click here to compare cards. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who has decided that you would like our support in securing an NHS service post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS job and on your journey to the UK today. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References The Telegraph. (2020). Tips for opening a UK bank account. [online] Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/transferwise/how-to-open-a-bank-account-in-uk/ [Accessed 6 Jan. 2020]. Vanquis.co.uk. (2020). Getting a Credit Card as a New UK Resident - Vanquis. [online] Available at: https://www.vanquis.co.uk/understanding-credit/financial-problems/overseas-uk-credit-rating [Accessed 6 Jan. 2020].

Police Clearance Certificates

By Samantha Joubert
January 07, 2020

A police clearance certificate will be necessary once you have received a job offer from an NHS hospital, your new employer will need this for them to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for you, and you will also need this documentation to apply for your Tier 2 Visa. In this article, we will be explaining what a police clearance certificate is, and how you can acquire one.   What is a Police Clearance Certificate? As of April 6th 2017, anyone intending to relocate to the UK and work within the health, education or social care sectors must provide a police clearance certificate. The reason for this is that anyone working within these sectors will be in contact with vulnerable people, and this documentation is in place to try and safeguard the welfare of those individuals. A police clearance certificate will confirm that an applicant does not have a criminal record. Conversely, if an individual does have a criminal record or any pending trials or convictions, this will appear within the police clearance certificate. If a certificate states that an individual has been arrested or charged and is currently awaiting prosecution, your application will either be put on hold, pending the outcome of the case, or, depending on the severity of the crime, your application may be refused.   How do I Obtain a Police Clearance Certificate? Police clearance certificates are usually issued either by the police, or by a law enforcement authority agency, depending on the procedures in place in the country you are obtaining the certificate from. You will need to acquire police clearance certificates from any countries you have spent twelve or more months (either in one period or over several separate visits) in the last ten years prior to the date of your application whilst you have been eighteen years of age or older. If any dependants over the age of eighteen will be making the move to the UK with you, they will also need to obtain police clearance certificates. Most countries have procedures in place to issue criminal record certificates, whether you are a citizen of that country, or you were simply a third country national living, working or visiting. As each country will have different procedures in place, you will need to find out who you need to contact in any countries you need to obtain certificates from, you can find out about the processes, costs and relevant information involved in obtaining certificates here. If a country isn’t on the list, you can instead contact a country’s High Commission or Embassy to find out what their process is.   Regional Certificates or National Certificates Some countries do not provide national certificates. A national certificate covers any criminal records for the entirety of the country. If possible, you should attempt to obtain a national certificate. If a national certificate is not available, you may instead be provided with regional certificates. Regional certificates, as the name suggests, will only cover a certain region, state or province within the country. In the circumstance that you are only able to obtain regional certificates for a country you lived in, you will need to provide certificates for each of the areas you stayed in during your time within that country, as well as evidence that you resided within that region (such as a utility bill), and proof that you have attempted to obtain a national certificate first, but none were available.   What should I do if I can’t Obtain a Certificate? If a country doesn’t have a process in place, and you have attempted to contact the country’s High Commission or Embassy but still haven’t been successful, you may be granted exemption. In place of a certificate, you will need to provide a written explanation as to why you cannot obtain the certificate. You may also be exempt from providing a certificate if you fled a country for humanitarian reasons and are unable to re-establish contact with the relevant authorities, if there is international or internal conflict, or finally, if there is currently, or has been a humanitarian disaster within that country.   What makes a Certificate Valid? You will need to provide either a scanned or original copy of the certificate or certificates issued by the relevant authorities, and if the original certificate is not in English, you will need to have it translated by an official translation body. You can find a list of translation services for each country here. It is also important to note that whether you provide the original or a scanned copy, it will likely be retained for at least 2 years. In order for a document to be valid, the certificate from your most recent country of residence should have been issued no earlier than six months prior to the date you are applying. If you do not provide certificates, or a reasonable explanation why you cannot provide certificates, you will not have met the requirements so your application will likely be refused. If you do not provide police certificates, the hospital or the home office may request them, if they do, you will need to provide them and they will need to be received within 28 working days of the request having been made.   Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor with plans to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we would be happy to help you on your relocation journey. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group each day. We will also be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 50 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with the IMG Advisor Podcast! You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.   References Gov.uk. (2020). [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/673331/criminal-record-certificate-guidance-v2.0ext.pdf [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. GOV.UK. (2020). General work visa (Tier 2). [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/documents-you-must-provide [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. GOV.UK. (2020). Get a copy of your police records. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/copy-of-police-records [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. GOV.UK. (2020). Guidance on the application process for criminal records checks overseas. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants/guidance-on-the-application-process-for-criminal-records-checks-overseas [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020].  

Tips on passing MRCP PACES

By Gabrielle Richardson
January 06, 2020

PACES is the final examination before you obtain your Membership of the Royal College of Physicians. PACES can be a difficult exam to pass and so, in this blog post we share our advice on how to ensure you successfully pass your exam and make you that one step closer to securing an NHS job offer. What is PACES? In the PACES exam, you will be assessed on your ability to carry out essential clinical skills. There are five clinical stations where there will be patients with a given condition or trained stand-ins. At each station, there will be two independent examiners. You will start at any one of the five stations and then move round the stations at 20-minute intervals until you have completed the cycle. There will be a five-minute period between each station. Station 1: Respiratory (10 minutes) Abdominal (10 minutes) Station 2: History Taking (20 minutes) Station 3: Cardiovascular (10 minutes) Neurological (10 minutes) Station 4: Communication Skills and Ethics (20 minutes) Station 5: Brief Clinical Consultation 1 (10 minutes) Brief Clinical Consultation 2 (10 minutes) MRCP PACES Pass Rate Doctors who have previously attempted MRCP PACES between 12-24 months after graduation are very unlikely to pass so bear this in mind when booking your exam. The pass rate increases to 60% for doctors who attempt between 24-36 months of graduation. While those who wait until they have 36-48 months of experience post-graduation, have a 77% pass rate. Think, the more experience the more likely you are to pass. Plan Ahead The most important step is to be organised and plan ahead. Look at the examination syllabus, the modules you will be tested on and then plan around that. MRCP Part 1 and 2 provides you with most of the knowledge you need to know for Medicine, however, PACES is about applying that knowledge to patient scenarios. Once you have organised your revision schedule, you will then need to practice. Clinical Practice It is important to provide yourself with opportunities to examine your friends, unwell patients, examine your spouse, sibling or your parents – in English, against the exam syllabus. Focus on your examination routines until you do not have to give a second’s thought into what you are doing and what you need to do next. When examining a patient, you should always be thinking about what you are going to need to tell them (in this case, the examiners posing as patients). Examination Skills The PACES exam requires you to evidence a series of skills: Skill A: Physical Examination – You must be able to examine a patient in a smooth, methodical and technically correct manner. To gain marks in this area you should not: miss things out, hesitate, examine a patient through their clothing, use an incorrect technique or have an unprofessional manner. Skill B: Identifying Physical Signs – Failing to identify clinical signs is one of the most common reasons to fail PACES. You will also need to present your findings in a calm, confident and clear manner to your examiners. Skill C: Clinical Communication Skills – It is absolutely essential to get an accurate history, address the patient’s ideas, concerns and expectations. In the exam, you should always avoid medical jargon, always speak professionally and considerately, elicit important information and provide it in an accurate and clear manner. Skill D: Differential Diagnosis – If you fail to identify physical signs you will also lose points on differential diagnosis. To get points under this area, you will need to consider the correct diagnosis, avoid providing a long list of textbook differentials which would not likely apply to the patient in front of you. Skill E: Clinical Judgement: This will test your ability to make a sensible plan for the patient. This includes any possible investigations and management of your diagnosis. Skill F: Managing Patient Concerns – Here you should follow the acronym “ICE”: address all ideas, concerns and expectations. You will need to demonstrate that you have asked the patient if they have any questions and answer them in an accurate and sympathetic manner. Then you must always confirm that they understand. Skill G: Maintaining Patient Welfare – It is essential to treat every single patient with respect and dignity. You can fail this skill by being disrespectful, being insensitive, causing pain and endangering patient safety. Useful Revision Resources Books Cases for PACES Clinical Medicine for MRCP PACES PACES for MRCP PACES YouTube MRCP PACES stations E-Learning Royal College of Physicians Revision Notes MRCP PACES Notes Medical Education Leeds Imperial Preparation Guide Relocation to the UK If you are an international Medicine doctor who would like support in securing an NHS service post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS job and on your journey to the UK today. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS!

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