Thank you for taking the time to interview with us Dr Ibidolapo Ijarotimi.
We wish you all the best with your GP training and life in the UK with your children.
1. What speciality, grade and what hospital do you work at?
GPST1, Geriatric department, Warwick Hospital
2. What country did you relocate from?
3. Would you share with us your personal mission as a doctor?
All I have ever wanted and still want is to bring joy to people by helping them heal, physically and mentally. I also want to work towards improving the work conditions of junior doctors in the NHS.
4. At what point in your career did you decide you wanted to relocate to the UK?
About 3 years after I finished medical school although it didn’t come to pass for over a decade after.
5. What were your motivations for wanting to do so?
Mostly just the need to have better work environment and better socioeconomic conditions
6. How long did it take you to relocate, how difficult did you find the process, and do you recommend it to other IMGs?
I started the process pretty much in 2008 by applying for HSMP then. I got it but some circumstances prevented me from relocating then. Afterwards I had to start writing IELTS and PLAB. Throughout the course of 10 years that it eventually took me, I wrote IELTS at least 8 times PLAB1 2 times PLAB2 5 times.
7. Is there anything you would have liked to have known before deciding to relocate?
I think I had enough knowledge before I came. Average salary to negotiate for, work hours and rota, estimated monthly budget, total cost of getting British passport.
8. And now once you live in the UK?
You can’t know how it really is working as a foreigner in the NHS, you can only experience it. But if I could know the way it feels I would suggest that.
9. For you, what are the key benefits of living in the UK?
Opportunity for my children to have broad education, develop their talents and attend good universities
10. How do you feel you settled in your chosen location within the UK?
I am well settled. It is urban but I live near the city edge so I get the benefit of city living and the quietness of rural area. My closest family is only 35 minutes drive away and we see each other very often. Our children spend holidays in both homes.
11. How did you feel on your first day of working within the NHS, your first week, month and then how do you feel now compared to when you first started?
My first day I felt so happy and proud of myself. It was a dream come true. Gradually over the next few months I started feeling stressed and disillusioned and perhaps a bit burnt out. Now, I am kind of at a plateau. I am a more patient doctor. The NHS has taught me that.
12. How would you describe the support you received from your hospital after starting your new position?
This new position I am in as a GP trainee the support is immeasurable. I recently went through a rough patch and that was when I I was overwhelmed by the support I got. From Health Education England and the hospital.
13. What is your opinion on the NHS? Working within it and as a patient receiving care?
The NHS is good. If not for the NHS the mortality rate in this country will be very high however, it is over stretched. The doctors and nurses are stretched too thinly thereby putting them at greater risk of making mistakes. To make it worse there is the culture of blame. It makes staff unnecessarily fearful practicing defensive medicine which is expensive and can even be unsafe for patients. In addition, there is need for the system to be more tolerant and accommodating of foreigners.
14. How do you find working in the UK compared to your home country?
It is more stressful. Mostly because of fear of making errors.
15. Why did you choose to specialise in General Practice?
I chose GP for several reasons; 1. It is the closest to my background in Community medicine 2. It was relatively easy to get into 3. The training is short 4. I believe it will give me the work life balance I crave.
16. What were your thoughts on working as a GP before you came to the UK?
I didn’t really have any idea about how it will be working as a GP but now in the training and visiting GP surgeries I now know what to expect.
17. How are your MRCGP studies going?
So far, I am finding it quite challenging but interesting. It is definitely doable.
18. Do you have any advice for any other doctors who want to pursue GP Training?
They should go for it. It is a good decision. Once you are GP it is easier to find a work life balance.
19. Any tips on the application process?
Pay attention to the SJT section of the stage 2. And be natural in the stage 3 part, skills learnt for PLAB also comes useful here. Having previous exposure to NHS will certainly help but it is not necessary.
20 .Before your GP training, I understand that you worked in Acute Medicine – what were your thoughts?
It was a rude introduction to UK health system but also quite fun and challenging. To be fair, I loved it but I found it too stressful for me.
21. Any advice for IMGs about to join an Acute Medicine Unit?
Be aware that it is a very busy unit. Very much like emergency medicine. You need to have current medical knowledge at your fingertips and be confident of your decisions
22. What are your hopes and goals for the future?
I hope to become a GP (working 3 or so days week as either locum or salaried. I don’t want to be a partner. I also want to spend the remaining 2 days being a blogger.
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If you are an international doctor who would like support with relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to us at [email protected] and we can support you on your journey.