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A Consultants Life in Acute Medicine in the NHS

  • May 10, 2021

Hello, I am Dr.Siddharth Kadri. I am working as a Consultant in Acute Medicine in an NHS Trust in the East Midlands. I joined the NHS in March 2020, right before the virus took all of us for a gigantic ride.

I was working as a Consultant in General Internal Medicine in India since 2015 when I decided to make the move to the UK. BDI Resourcing facilitated the interview with my current trust and assisted me in relocating as well.

How did you join the NHS directly as a Consultant?

This is the most common question I face whenever I introduce myself. I have an cumulative experience of 11 years in the Department of Internal Medicine after graduating out of medical school and became a Consultant in the same in 2015, giving me a 6 year experience as a Consultant. The doctors conducting the interview were well aware of this, hence adding strength to my CV.

I am also a member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) which obviously gave me an edge for GMC Registration and Academic Proficiency.

What are the prerequisites for joining as a consultant in the NHS?

Firstly, the NHS has a lot of vacancies in the medical departments like Acute Medicine, Geriatrics, Respiratory, Radiology, Paediatrics, ICU etc compared to the Surgical branches. 

International doctors who are adequately qualified and experienced have an excellent chance to score a consultant position provided their CV, GMC Status, International qualifications are strong and they do well in the NHS interview which is the most important aspect.

International doctors are usually expected to finish training at a Post Graduate level in their home countries.

Especially in the medical departments, a Royal College qualification would be expected.

What is the difference between General Medicine and Acute Medicine in the NHS?

Unlike most of the countries in the world, NHS Trusts do not have a specific general medicine department. Most Acute trusts have a dedicated Acute Medicine Department which is usually branched into 3 components (varies from Trust to Trust)

1.     MAU/EAU/MDU- Medical Admissions Unit/ Emergency Assessment Unit/Medical Decision Unit- The medical patients are streamed here from the Casualty/A&E . Acute medical team juniors initially see the patient, complete the history, examination and the initial management and then present the patient to an Acute Medicine Consultant who then decides the medical plan , destination and duration of stay along with other aspects.

2.     AECU/SDEC - Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit / Same Day Emergency Care Unit - It is an emergency clinic where patients are referred from the A&E or the GP Practise. Usually, patients need same day care but not an admission.

3.     Short Stay Unit/Medical Ward - It is a medical ward exclusively run by Acute medical team where patients who require hospitalisation for 24-72 hours are kept.

How much experience is required for a doctor to be considered as a consultant in the NHS?

It is a very subjective question as it depends on multiple factors such as requirement needs of the particular job vacancy and others. But as a yardstick I would say at least 5 years of consultant experience in your home country would be recommended preceded by a proper structured training post (not compulsory but preferred).

What are the roles of an Acute Medical Consultant in the NHS?

  • Heading the multidisciplinary meetings and handover 
  • Senior review of all patients admitted or referred along with all medical and social decisions.
  • Family meeting and prognosis discussions
  • Resuscitation decisions
  • Other departmental consultant to consultant referrals
  • Participation in Departmental Clinical Governance, Mortality/Morbidity and Consultant Meetings
  • Junior doctor Teaching
  • Clinical and Educational Supervision of Junior Doctors
  • Complaint Response and Incident Investigations 

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