For IMG’s who decide they want to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS, the relocation process can be lengthy and overwhelming which can often result in rushed decisions. So, in today’s post to celebrate the UK’s hottest week of the year so far, we provide you with some “hot tips” on a successful relocation to the UK. You can enjoy a personalised tip from each of us whilst seeing us enjoy the hot weather in our dress down clothes.
When you have made the decision that you are going to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS it is important you know that it is a very time-consuming, complex and overwhelming process. Therefore, for me, my top tip is to ensure you surround yourself with those going through the same experience. This can be online or offline. Talking to other IMGs who want to relocate is a good way to share experiences and emotions. One way to do this is to join our Facebook Group: IMG Advisor. In this group you can ask questions, receive useful information via blog posts and meet other IMG’s!
My advice to IMG’s who want to relocate is to be patient – do not rush the process. Once you have obtained GMC registration and you have then been offered a job, please ensure that this job is right for both you and your family.
One way to do this is to research the hospital, what is its CQC report, what do their patient reviews say, have they been in the press recently? All of this information will help you make the decision as to whether this hospital is right for you. You have been waiting a long time to get to this stage, so don’t make the wrong decision now.
Once you have been offered a position in a hospital, make sure that you do not just research the immediate city or town that your new hospital is located in – look into the surrounding area’s as well. The UK is a small country which means that there will be excellent areas around your hospital, which can provide you and your family withsocial activities and enjoyment of life.
If your hospital is in a smaller town – don’t worry. First, you will be saving money by living in a less populated area and secondly, you can enjoy rural life whilst still having access to great things to do nearby.
Sounds simple, but plan ahead and give yourself time to digest information and make decisions! Sometimes the excitement of getting your GMC registration can lead you to make decisions too quickly and potentially the wrong one. You then realise that you physically cannot relocate that quickly and you will find yourself under a lot of pressure and stress.
I have two tips for IMG’s:
My tip is that when you are researching the hospital the best way to receive a true understanding of the hospital and its area is to speak to a doctor in the department you will be working in and then a second international doctor from the hospital as they would have gone through the same experience as you. And this may even lead to you making friends before you have even started! Bonus!
Try and remember not to get too caught up on the small details of your first post within the UK. All too often we hear “I will only work in a teaching hospital” or “I will only work in a city-centre location”. Remember, that the NHS is a standardised workplace so all processes, procedures, learning and development opportunities will all be of a very high standard in every single hospital across the UK.
To explain, a teaching hospital just means that they have an affiliation with your medical school, however, your training as a junior or middle grade doctor comes from your peers and seniors – not a medical school. Equally, the UK is a relatively small place and relatively few people live in the city centre.
So, be flexible and ready to use public transport – most locations are less than an hour away from a city centre!
Once you have accepted a position and are considering the move over – do not be too worried about moving your family over at the same time you do. The initial move over to the UK can be stressful and there is often a lot of things that need to be done and boxes that must be ticked.
If you move over by yourself first, it means you can easily get your ID check sorted, find good accommodation for your family and schools for your children, and then settle in to your new post. Once the little details are taken care of, it will be a lot easier to move your family without all the stress!
Make sure you have all the documents you need before starting each step in the process! For example, depending on the country you are currently living in and where you have worked before, you may need more than one Certificate of Good Standing – these can take time to gather and are only valid for 3 months at a time. Other difficult documents to obtain at that stage could be if you have worked in the Middle East as a locum without a full license: you will need to explain why this was allowed and you should also ensure that you can get a letter from your hospital and the ‘Gen2’ form signed.
When applying for your visa, if you did not take a UKVI version of IELTS or took OET for GMC registration, then you need to factor in the time it takes to sit this (only 4.0 pass mark is required for the visa) or pass through ‘UK NARIC’ before you can make the application. These are all things that can add weeks or months onto the time it takes to relocate.
When you are searching for your first position within the NHS, my advice is to reduce your expectations. To exemplify, for Consultant Radiologists who want to relocate to the UK it is best to set your expectations to start your first role as a General Radiologist with a view to specialising in your chosen area after the first 12 months in the position.
This will allow you to understand how the radiology department works within an NHS hospital and will also allow you to feel comfortable and confident when you move on to specialising.
As an IMG, it is likely your interview with an NHS trust will take place via Skype. It is an approved method of conducting the interviews and, while there are other alternatives, it is readily available within most Trust HR teams.
There are some things that you need to have ready to make sure that your interview goes smoothly. Interviews take between 15-30 minutes so every moment matters! Make sure that you test the connection, video and sound a few days before the interview - there is nothing worse than taking time out of your day and failing to connect when you need it most. During your interview really imagine you are in the room with the interviewer. As well as talking about your duties and responsibilities they will be gauging how you communicate and be picturing you in their hospital. Ensure you make ‘eye contact’ with the camera, speak clearly, listen well and answer the questions. Finally, let your personality come through and smile.
If you are an IMG who is interested in relocating to the UK and working within the NHS send your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to help you.
Alternatively, come and say hello in our Facebook Group: IMG Advisor! Here you can ask relocation questions and meet other IMG’s!