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Q&A with Raja Ahmed, UK Consultant Psychiatrist

By Gabrielle Richardson
October 03, 2018

Introduction 1.What is your name, speciality, grade and what hospital do you work at? My name is Dr Raja Adnan Ahmed and I am working as a Consultant Psychiatrist in       South Wales currently based in Ysbyty’r Tri Chwm Hospital which is part of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. I have been working on this substantive consultant post for over two years. 2.What country did you relocate from? I relocated from Pakistan having graduated in 2003 and I arrived in the UK in 2005. 3.Would you share with us your personal mission as a doctor? My mission is to raise awareness about mental illness amongst the general public as well as healthcare professionals and to reduce the stigma associated with mental health. I believe due to the lack of awareness many people, including doctors and allied health professionals, suffer in silence and treatable mental health conditions become disabling. I would like to see mental health receive the same attention and parity of funding as physical health. I would also like to see an improvement of training in Psychiatry as a discipline among medical students in the UK and in Pakistan.   4.At what point in your career did you decide you wanted to relocate to the UK? What were your motivations for wanting to do so? I moved to the UK following my house job (internship) in Pakistan. In fact, I started to plan during my final year of medical college. I was interested in Psychiatry and started to research the Royal College of Psychiatrist Training Curriculum and various training programmes within the UK. I undertook the necessary IELTS during my internship as well as studied for my PLAB1 exam. My main motivation to pursue training in the UK was the highly organised and carefully structured training programmes available in Psychiatry. There were excellent training opportunities, emphasis on a work life balance, a rewarding salary, recognition and clear pathway for progression of one's career, all of these factors contributed to my choice in migrating to the UK. The Relocation Process 5.How long did it take you to relocate, how difficult did you find the process, and do you recommend it to other IMGs? I relocated to the UK in 2005, at that time under the labour government, the visa regulations, especially for highly skilled migrants were quite straight forward. Unfortunately, this also meant that the job market became saturated quickly. A single non-training vacancy would attract hundreds of applications. It was not unusual at that time for IMGs to start with unpaid clinical attachment work for months whilst simultaneously applying for post across the country. The situation changed around 2006-2007 as many IMGs started to leave due to lack of posts. When I first moved to the UK within first few months of passing PLAB I was able to secure a clinical attachment and within 8 weeks of that I was able to secure first locum post in the same department which led to further short-term locum positions. However, it took me more than a year to secure my first training job as a foundation year two doctor. Certain specialities continue to have a chronic shortage of doctors, but I can see that the situation is improving, therefore, I advise young IMGs to pursue their ambitions at this current time. 6.Is there anything you would have liked to have known before deciding to relocate? And now once you live in the UK? When you move countries, you are leaving behind all the support networks, family and friends. It takes time to settle and for me at first it felt like I was starting my life from scratch. The initial months can be very anxiety provoking due to lots of uncertainties and challenges but as times goes on most of us adapt to the changes and the new cultures and working environment. Once a job is secure the rest comes naturally. You are never too far from a supporting figure, colleague or mentor. In my experience, Wales, has been a very welcoming and friendly place to live hence, I have chosen to stay and work here. I advise new IMGs to keep an open mind and be prepared to face the initial challenges. There is a lot to learn about British cultural norms, culture of NHS as a health service and British society in general. But once you start to settle the you will find British society and NHS is very welcoming and inclusive towards IMGs and you will get many of opportunities to grow.   Thoughts on the UK 7.For you, what are the key benefits of living in the UK? I see plenty of benefits living in the UK. The society in general is very liberal, inclusive and welcoming, people are very friendly and value your hard work, intelligence and dedication. The UK is at the cutting edge of medical research and innovation and there are excellent training opportunities which include training in the hospitals, Royal Colleges and opportunities with the local universities. The training and qualifications you gain in the UK are recognised globally. The NHS has the mechanisms to make you a well-rounded doctor. Our children also get better education via the school system here in the UK and hopefully will get excellent university education which will open opportunities for their future progress. The UK also offers you a very healthy work life balance and there is a lot to explore and enjoy as a family within the UK and also in Europe. 8.How do you feel you settled in your chosen location within the UK?  I grew up in a small town in Pakistan which was surrounded by beautiful countryside and mango farms. I think because of my upbringing and the lovely early childhood memories, I love the countryside. I remember my very first days in London when I was preparing for PLAB-2, visiting the city and travelling around on the London underground during the peak hours, as much as I enjoyed this experience my heart has always been drawn to the idyllic country atmosphere. Fortunately, I had the chance to work in the South Wales which offered me good balance or city and rural life with proximity of cities like Cardiff and Bristol along with the lovely countryside with rolling hills, peaks of Brecon Beacons and sandy beaches of the Welsh coastline. The cost of living is lower in Wales if you compare it with areas around London or the South West of England. 9.Have you applied for permanent residency in the UK? How did you find the process? The visa regulation has changed a lot since 2005, generally speaking, it was a lot easier 10 years ago. IMG doctors applied for a HSMP visa (highly skilled migrant programme) which lasted for certain number of years leading to ILR (indefinite leave to remain) and there was no need to change visas with every job.    Unfortunately, I don't understand the current visa rules so well as so much has changed but I believe the UK government should make it easier for highly skilled professionals to acquire British visa’s and provide them a clear pathway to permanent residency. The NHS 10.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 very first experience of working in the UK was clinical attachment which led to a locum SHO job in the same hospital. I was very excited and nervous at the same time. I met very helpful experienced seniors to guide me through that period and I slowly gained experience and confidence. There is no doubt that the first few weeks or months in the NHS can be difficult as there is a lot to learn about the system and functions of the multi-disciplinary teams. I advise doctors to be honest about their skill level and do not ever hesitate to ask for help when you are unsure. Also, do not feel ashamed to ask plenty of questions and identify areas of your weakness, reflect upon them, discuss them with your supervisors and develop a personal development plan (PDP)  to constantly learn and improve your skills. 11.How would you describe the support you received from your hospital after starting your new position? I received good support from seniors in the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport when I was doing both my clinical attachment and during my locum SHO position in medicine. I was lucky to work with the seniors who understood that IMGs require periods of induction into the NHS system and require extra support and supervision at the start.    My first training post was in Yeovil, Somerset as and FY2 in 2007, again I was warmly welcomed by the staff and received appropriate support in settling in and achieving my required foundation competences and application process for the core psychiatry training. I think all departments in NHS are familiar with new IMGs starting their first job in the NHS and they are usually very helpful. I also advise IMGs to look out for mentors both at a peer level and senior levels who can guide and support you during the initial years. 12.What were your thoughts on the UK/NHS System in 2005, do you think either has changed much over the last 13 years? This is an interesting question. Certainly, a lot has changed within the NHS and as an organisation NHS is constantly evolving as it is trying to improve and find more effective ways to perform. Although we use word NHS as if this is a single organisation but in reality, the NHS is formed by lot of different bodies and as doctors we experience interactions with various different trusts, hospitals, training schemes, royal colleges, deaneries and universities. Since I started working in the NHS I have noticed there are certain negative streams of media that denigrate the health service and portray it to be unsustainable. I remember IMGs back in 2005 were worrying if the NHS would survive another 5 years. It is true that certain Trust services and hospitals struggle to manage safely but on the other hand there is a lot more positivity about the NHS and its excellent performance which is not reflected fully in the media. I now advise my colleagues and new IMGs to avoid concentrating on all the negative media coverage about the NHS and focus on all the positives NHS offer you. By working within the NHS, you become part of a diverse multicultural workforce and get exposure to excellent training opportunities, cutting edge techniques, chance to work with worlds experts in certain fields, frontline academics and mentors. I believe NHS will continue to offer excellent training despite the austerity measures.    13.What is your opinion on the NHS? Working within it and as a patient receiving care? NHS is an excellent health system and simply one of the best in the world. The staff show real compassion and commitment and generally the training of the staff along with safety standards are exceptional. I believe your hard work and dedication are recognised and commended within the NHS and you are given opportunities to bring about the change. 14.What pathway did you use to become a UK Consultant? I have a CCT in Old Age Psychiatry which I achieved in 2016. I started the training pathway in 2007 with a Foundation Year 2 job in Somerset, which led to core psychiatry training. I finished my membership exam, core and specialist training within Wales Deanery. For IMGs who are interested in psychiatry training, I always advise them to consider the proper training pathway with membership exams and aim for the CCT. Given the shortage of applications on core training jobs, the core training places have been under filled for the last 10 years (although in 2018 we had a much better year for recruitment). Similarly, when core trainees are finishing their membership exams, they are getting specialist training posts fairly easily leading to CCT. Although I have nothing against CESR pathway, generally speaking in Psychiatry it is easier to get a CCT with better exposure to training which helps you to become a confident consultant.     15.How do you find working in the UK compared to your home country? When I left Pakistan in2005, the life of a trainee doctor in Pakistan was very difficult due to shortage of training places, shortage of supervisors and very low salaries. But above all, I was most concerned with the lack of training opportunities. In comparison to Pakistan, I felt the training in the UK offered a better structured and clear pathway to progress along with several excellent opportunities to refine my skills as educator and leader. Working and training in the UK also gives you financial independence and a peace of mind so you can focus your energies on training needs, membership exams and clinical skills. When I was working in Pakistan, I knew I would have been financially dependent on my parents, but in the UK, my wife and I moved into our first house in Wales when we were both Foundation Year 2 doctors. The Future 16.What are your hopes for the future? I am currently working on a Consultant Psychiatrist post with NHS Wales and pursuing a Master’s in medical education with Cardiff University. I would like to develop myself as an experienced educator, I am already involved with Cardiff University Medical School, the Welsh Deanery and my local health board in teaching and examining roles but I would like to expand my involvement and improve my own experience as an educator. I am interested in raising awareness about mental illness in general public and healthcare professionals and improve recruitment into psychiatry. I am also interested in Qualitative research methods and currently exploring and learning more about qualitative research and designing my first Qualitative research project. In the future, I like to establish myself as an experienced researcher with publications in reputed psychiatry journals along with my clinical and educational role. In my personal life, I am blessed with an extremely supportive wife, who is a GP herself and we have three lovely energetic children. I always try and find ways to spend quality time with my family and maintain a healthy work life balance. We enjoy hobbies such as cycling, hiking, running and swimming. The future holds so much more! Thank you for reading! Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor! Here you will have access to regular relocation blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional support and the chance to meet other IMGs! 

Sebastian's Guide to Santorini

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 28, 2018

Warning! This blog may result in Wanderlust… Recently, our Paediatric Specialist Sebastian and his girlfriend Clare just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the beautiful island of Santorini, Greece.   Relocating to the UK and working for the NHS has endless advantages including the opportunity to train within the NHS, increased job stability, and the opportunity to receive a good source of income. Another advantage and the purpose of today’s article is that living in the UK will provide you with the prospect of travelling to incredible European locations. There are 51 countries that belong to the diverse continent and home to some of the world’s most vibrant cities, iconic architecture and amazing art – all of which are on the UK’s doorstep. Travel gives you time to relax and refresh, obtain new perspectives, the opportunity to meet new people and it is a fantastic stress buster!   So, in this post, we wanted to take the opportunity to inspire you to relocate to the UK and travel to beautiful destinations like Santorini by sharing some amazing pictures from Sebastian’s holiday. Santorini Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea and it is an island that will offer you sweeping ocean views, picture-perfect beaches, traditional Grecian architecture and fine dining. Flights London Heathrow – British Airways offers flights from May to October London Gatwick and Manchester – EasyJet offers flights from April to October Accommodation in Oia Santa Maris Luxury Villa and Suites Hotel Sebastian and Clare stayed in an exquisite hotel neatly tucked away from the centre of Oia. The hotel will offer you an authentic experience, with views overlooking the Aegean Sea and exclusive sunsets. Sebastian’s Must-See Places The Red Beach – Depending on how long you are visiting the island for, you may like to rent a car. This will allow you to visit the South of the Island, including the pre-historic town called Akrotiri. Here, you will find the red beach, a rare sight of an enormous volcanic rock situation in the sea next to dark blue waters. Ancient Thira – Ancient Thira is an ancient city and home to Messa Vouno Mountain – the visit will offer you spectacular views, markets and historic ruins. Fira – Fira is the capital of Santorini and it is a beautiful area that will offer you endless cafes, bars, restaurants and amazing views. Sebastian’s Must-Do Activities A boat trip – Exploring the island by boat will offer you a unique opportunity to see different towns and villages in all its diversity. Visit the pre-historic towns and ancient sites – This will give you a chance to learn about both the island’s history and Ancient Greek history Eat out at as many restaurants as possible – The food in Santorini is Mediterranean-Greek. You will find a great array of seafood and meats with the opportunity to try the islands finest-grown tomatoes, olives and wines. Go on the cable cars in Fira – This is an absolute necessity! Giving you beautiful views across the whole island. Plan to watch the sunset – Santorini sunsets are among the most sought-after phenomena in the world and so you should definitely make time to see the sun set in a variety of locations. Thanks for reading! And remember to share your European adventures with us when you relocate to the UK! Why is travelling important for my career? Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor – Here you will receive access to frequent relocation blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional advice and the chance to meet other IMGs!

Q&A with Joaquin Antonio Ramirez, Urology SHO at RLH

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 21, 2018

Hello, nice to meet you! What is your name, speciality and where do you work? Hi! My name is Dr Ramirez and I work as an SHO in Urology at the Royal London Hospital. Where is your home country? I am originally from Costa Rica. Why did you decide to relocate to the UK and what were your motivations? I came to the UK with the hopes to specialise in Surgery and to learn about minimally invasive procedures which are more common in the UK than where I come from. Relocating to the UK was very easy for me, I have been an expat for a long time and in my opinion, the UK is one of the easiest countries to relocate and find a job in, there are many people willing to help and everyone has been very welcoming since I arrived here. What are your thoughts on living in London? London can be a very hectic city to live in, as with any city it has its pros and cons, but I can assure you all that you will not be bored for a second if you decide to relocate here. The number of things to see and do is just amazing! What are your thoughts on the NHS as a system? I find it amazing how people in the UK respect and value the NHS as an institution and because of that support, doctors, can bring an amazing level of care to people for free. Do you have any advice for junior doctors who are considering specialising in Urology? I believe this is a great time to pursue Urology training in the UK, as it is a speciality that is suited for those interested in recent technological advances and research. I personally believe the most fascinating branch is urologic-oncology but there are many areas to specialise in, such as: -Sexual health -Infectious conditions The main path for a doctor who aspires to become a Urologist is to complete the MRCS exam and then apply for a Registrar post, this can either be a training or a service post – both routes can lead to you becoming a Consultant. I thoroughly enjoy working in Urology at the Royal London Hospital, it is a great speciality especially if you like video games. This is because now, everything is done through an endoscopic approach, so you are usually controlling instruments and see what you are doing via a TV screen. We recently got a surgical robot in RHL that we use for benign procedures, as a result, it has shortened the patient’s stay at the hospital and they can leave with practically no visible scars. Plus, it is really easy and fun to use compared to traditional laparoscopy. I find this minimally invasive approach very exciting and I hope every day we will be able to offer this to more people in the UK and around the world. Do you have any advice for Urology patients? I am going to split my answer into to parts, for the two patients that I have treated: A)Patients suffering from renal/ureteric stones The cause of a patient suffering from stones can vary. The most common stones are calcium oxalate and they are caused by a combination of factors including genetics, dehydration and consuming a high quantity of oxalate in your diet. Foods that are high in oxalate and ones you should avoid if you suffer from this condition include spinach, bran flakes, rhubarb, beetroot, potatoes, chips, nuts, nut butter and many others. Other types of stones can be caused by other factors such as recurrent urinary tract infections or gout, in this case, the main prevention is to treat the underlying medical condition as effectively as possible to prevent recurrence of calculi. B)Patients suffering from BPH or more commonly known as an enlarged prostate BPH stands for benign prostatic hypertrophy and it is a condition that affects up to 40% of men over the age of 65. It is an enlargement of the prostate gland that envelops the urethra making it difficult for the affected individual to pass urine, usually requiring them to depend on a urinary catheter to be able to empty their bladder. BPH is typically caused by environmental factors that are still relatively unknown however, it has been theorised that it is caused by an increased conversion of testosterone to DHT or dihydrotestosterone, which is the hormone responsible for some changes in ageing males such as male pattern baldness. Theoretically, men who produce higher levels of testosterone have a higher chance of it developing BPH and just anecdotally I can confirm that many of my patients who suffered from this condition tend to be very muscular and ‘manly’ looking men, which is something I tell my patients which never fails to get a smile out of them. It has been reported that aerobic exercise and a diet low in meat can prevent the incidence of BPH, but I believe the evidence is not yet conclusive on this matter. Currently, the best treatment available is for surgery and the most common procedure is called TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) which involves passing a camera through the urethra and using an instrument called a resectoscope to ‘shave off’ a larger channel for the urine to pass through. This is done using an endoscopic cautery knife called a resectoscope. The surgery involves no cuts and is all done through this keyhole approach and it is currently the most effective way of treating this condition. There is a relatively high (5%) risk of causing erectile dysfunction which is why we are constantly looking for new ways to treat BDP which are safe and effective. At Royal London Hospital, where I did my Urology placement, we are studying a new technique called Uro-Lift, which is a less invasive procedure which involves ‘clipping’ the prostate with two clips that open the urethra clearing the passage. This new technique has shown promising results, but it is still in its early stages and we require more patients to undergo this procedure to confirm its superiority to the traditional TURP. Thank you for your advice, Dr Ramirez. What are your plans for the future? Eventually, I would like to go back to Costa Rica to help improve my home country with what I have learnt here. But for now, I have a lot of training ahead of me and so the UK is my current home.

The cost of running a car in the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 19, 2018

After you have settled into the UK, found your way around the local area, obtained a UK driving licence, you will begin to think about purchasing a car. Buying a car can be an expensive venture, therefore, in today’s post, we provide you with all the costs involved in running a car. To drive a car on public roads there are certain requirements you must meet by law: Car Insurance The amount you pay for your car insurance is called a premium. Insurance companies will take various details from you to work out what your monthly or yearly premium will be. This includes personal details (such as age and postcode), the cars details, the level of cover you are looking for, previous car insurance claims etc. This information will allow the insurance broker to calculate your premium based upon the provided information. The best way to get cheaper car insurance is to use comparison sites to find the best deal. Once you have a couple of good quotes, you might want to call an insurance broker and ask them to beat it (it’s free, they will do all the work and then call you back).  We also advise for you to pay your premium all at once, rather than monthly instalments as you will have to pay interest on instalments.   Useful Car Insurance Comparison Websites: Compare the Market Go Compare Car Tax Car tax is also referred to as road tax and it must be paid on all registered vehicles that are kept or driven on public roads. The price of road tax can vary depending on how environmentally friendly your car is. When you purchase your road tax online, it will be automatically transferred with the vehicle. It is important to remember that you must tax your car before you use it. Choosing the right car can make a big difference to your tax costs, as choosing a low-tax car could mean it holds its value better as more people will want to buy it. If you have already bought a car and you want to find out how much its tax is going to cost, please click here. Please click here for a list of tax free cars. MOT Testing An MOT is a yearly test for all cars over three years old. The vehicle, by UK law, must pass its MOT to ensure it is safe and roadworthy. The maximum price for an MOT costs £54.85, however, some garages offer cheaper prices to guarantee they get the repair business too. Other costs involved in running a car: Fuelling the car The average price of a litre of fuel in the UK is around £1.29 (September 2018) for petrol and £1.33 for diesel, however, this price will fluctuate from street to street and town to town. To calculate how much it will cost for you to fuel your car each month please click here. Tips for reducing your fuel costs: Careful driving: gentle acceleration and not driving quickly all the time will reduce the amount of fuel that you use Efficiency: The bigger your car's engine is the more fuel it will use in general Shopping: If you buy your fuel from the same petrol provider then they are likely to offer a loyalty card, which will allow you to build up your rewards points to spend on other shopping Travel for your fuel: Buying it from a supermarket petrol station over a motorway/local stations – the prices can be considerably lower Servicing and Maintenance Costs Upon considering how much it will cost to run a car, it is important you do not forget about maintenance fees of the car. The RAC, a UK motor car service states that it costs around £472 a year to maintain a used car. This fee includes an MOT, a service and any repairs needed. However, please note that if you buy a new car it is likely that you may not need any repairs at all. It is important to service your car regularly, as it will help maintain its value and reduce costs in the long-term. To read our blog: How to get a UK driving licence please click here. References (2018). Car insurance for young drivers – the key facts. [online] Available at: https://www.moneyadviceservi

Your NHS Salary

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 17, 2018

Every week we see many doctors begin their career within the NHS, joining hospitals all over the UK. In today’s post, we provide you with our top tips on how to manage your finances after relocating to the UK. If you have any questions regarding any of our tips, please email and we will be happy to advise you. Disclaimer – we are not a financial advisory firm and the tips below our just our tips from experience with working with IMGs. 1. Work out how much you will get on your first payday Knowing how much to expect in your monthly salary payment is essential. This will help you plan your monthly outgoings, such as rent, council tax, food – this will allow you to know what you can spend on recreational activities and what you can afford to save for the future. Please note that there are various apps available on smart phones that allow you to calculate your monthly salary – try searching “Salary Calculator” in your app store. There are also apps to guide you on your expenditure and it calculates how much you can afford to save each month. Try this link for a full list. 2. Understand the UK tax system Before you receive your first paycheck it is important to understand how UK income tax works.        How does it work? Each UK citizen has a “personal allowance” which denotes the amount we can earn without paying any income tax. If you earn more than your personal allowance, then you pay tax at the applicable rate on all earnings above the personal allowance, but the allo wance remains untaxed. What is my personal allowance? Earning bracket Personal allowance Under £100,000 £11,850 £100,000 to £123,700 Decreased from £11,850 by £1 for every £2 you earn, until it reaches £0 Over £123,700 £0 What income tax band am I in? Once you know your personal allowance, anything extra earned will be subject to income tax. For 2018/19 tax year, if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, there are three marginal income tax bands – at the 20% basic rate, the 40% higher rate and the 45% additional rate bracket (remember your personal allowance starts to shrink once earnings hit £100,000). If you live in Scotland, there are five marginal income tax bands from the 2018/19 tax year - the starter rate of 19%, the 20% basic rate, the 21% intermediate rate, the 41% higher rate, and the 46% additional rate. Earnings (England, Wales or NI) 2018/2019 Rate Under your personal allowance For most, £11,850 No income tax payable Between PA and PA+£34,500 (basic rate) For most, £11,850 to £46,350 20% Between PA+£34,500 and £150,000 (higher rate) For most, £46,350 to £150,000 40% Over £150,000 (additional rate) 45% Example monthly take home for a doctor’s salary Level Basic Salary Basic Salary after tax Monthly take home FY1 £26,614 £21,480 £1,790 FY2 £30,805 £24,330 £2,028 Specialist Training £36,461 £28,176 £2,348 Speciality Doctors £37,923 £29,170 £2,431 Consultants £76,761 £52,541 £4,378 GP’s £56,525 £40,804 £3,400 NB: Basic salary does not include any uplifts, banding or additional PA’s. To work out your monthly take home for your specific salary please visit this site. You should also note that there is a further opportunity to increase your salary either through Bank Staff work or agency Locum work. Please visit our article on this matter for further information. National Insurance Please note that you will also have to pay National Insurance along with your tax.  How much will I pay? Your pay Class 1 National Insurance rate £162 to £892 a week (£702 to £3,863 a month) 12% Over £892 a week (£3,863 a month) 2% How do I pay? Your National Insurance contribution will be taken from your wages before you are paid and your payslip will show your contributions. NHS Pension You will also be entitled to contribute to your pension via the NHS Pension Scheme. Within this scheme both you and your employer will contibute to your pension at different tiers depending on your pay.  How much will I contribute? Tier  Pensionable Pay (whole-time equivalent) Contribution Rate from  2015/16 to 2018/19  1  Up to £15,431.99   5.0%  2  £15,432.00 to £21,477.99  5.6% 3    £21,478.00 to £26,823.99   7.1%  4  £26,824.00 to £47,845.99  9.3%  5  £47,846.00 to £70,630.99  12.5% 6   £70,631.00 to £111,376.99   13.5% 7   £111,377.00 and over   14.5% 3. Boost your income There are two ways to boost your income once you have started your new position. NHS staff bank – each Trust has an NHS staff bank that contracts healthcare professionals to take on extra shifts at the hospital. This option allows you to pick up extra shifts within your own hospital, whenever it is convenient for you. Please note, if you are on a Tier 2 visa – there will be no restrictions on the number of bank shifts you can take up. You will be paid monthly, along with your salary for any additional bank shifts that you cover. Agency locum work – alternatively, you may choose to take up temporary work via a medical recruitment agency that provides locum work for doctors. The agency will work with various hospitals across the UK and they will help you find temporary work. Agency locum work offers a higher rate of pay compared to bank staff rates, however, on a Tier 2 visa you are limited to working up to 20 hours per week and it is likely you will have to travel to another hospital. 4. Plan your career progression – medical exams are expensive so make sure you factor these fees in Junior doctors face a number of expenses at the beginning stages of their careers. If you are a junior doctor who plans to specialise then you will need full Royal College Membership. The prices vary depending on the Royal College, so it is important that you factor in the cost of the exam fees as they are essential for your career progression. 5. Don’t forget other costs The process of relocating to the UK can be very costly, from paying for PLAB, IELTS, GMC Registration, your visa application, flights and airport transfers – but often, doctors forget about costs they will incur after they have started their position. For further information on how much it costs to relocate to the UK please visit our blog. These fees include revalidating your GMC licence, British Medical Association fees and your medical indemnity cover fees. Thank you for reading our post. If you are an IMG who is interested in relocating to the UK and working within the NHS please register your CV on our website and we will be in touch about available positions. Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor – get frequent access to relocation blogs, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional advice and the chance to meet other IMGs!

Who will I be working with?

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 14, 2018

When you join the NHS the people you will be working most closely with will be the other doctors in your team also known as “firm”. This will typically include: Your Consultant (most senior member of the team) Senior or Specialist Registrar (in training) Foundation Programme trainee (within the first two years after qualification) Other doctors you may come into contact with include: Staff grades (a non-training grade doctor who is typically very experienced) Clinical fellows (a trainee grade doctor undertaking research) Who will be in my multi-disciplinary team? In order for patients to receive the best possible clinical care, several healthcare professionals will be involved. This is what is known as a multi-disciplinary team. These include: Nurses – who will provide practical direct care for patients and often will provide you, as a doctor, with direct support on the wards and in clinics. The nurses are likely to have worked in the department for a long time and can provide you with invaluable advice – please do not be afraid to ask them questions. Midwives – work within the maternity and can deliver low-risk patients. They have limited prescribing abilities. Pharmacists – provide essential advice on which medications to prescribe and dispense drugs. Every hospital prescription is reviewed by them and you can contact them directly for advice when prescribing. Phlebotomists – most hospitals employ phlebotomists to take blood from patients, typically in the morning, so that results are available in the afternoon. Remember to make sure request forms are put out early in the day if you would like the phlebotomist to take blood from your patients as if you miss their ward round, you will have to take the blood yourself. Physiotherapists – assess patient mobility and may provide specialist input into care e.g. for patients with chest infections. Come and join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor.  Here, you will have access to frequent blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions regarding relocating to the UK and working within the NHS and the chance to meet other IMGs! References (2018). BMA - Life and work in the UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Sep. 2018].

The CESR Application Process

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 12, 2018

If you are an international doctor who would like to become a Consultant within the NHS, you will need to apply for CESR. CESR stands for Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration. The process can take over six months and you will need to prepare various pieces of evidence to support your application. This guide will help you prepare your application, give tips on how to successfully apply and inform you of the GMC’s recent change to the CESR application process. Please read our article A guide to CESR for more in-depth information on how CESR can be advantageous to your career. In this article, we provide you with details on how to organise and submit your evidence, qualifications that need to be verified, and changes to the CESR application process. How do I organise my evidence? The GMC is able to deal with your application more quickly if you ensure that you only upload evidence that is directly relevant. They typically expect to see between 800 and 1,000 pages of evidence. For example, evidence over five years old will be given less weight than more recent evidence, so you may not need to include it. Tips – your evidence should be structured so that the GMC can assess it properly. The GMC provides an application divider pack to help arrange and present your evidence correctly. You must follow the structure of the dividers when ordering your evidence. GMC Guidance: Do not bind or staple your documents A4, A3 and A5 document sizes are permitted Double-sided documents are permitted Do not submit books or leaflets, you must scan the relevant pages and submit Do not submit your evidence in folders or plastic wallets Once you have listed your evidence within your online application, you should print your evidence checklist, which will include all of the details you have listed. The GMC advises you to use this checklist as the first page of your bundle of evidence and tick the relevant box to show that you have included each item in your bundle. How do I submit my evidence? You must ensure that you have all the pro-formas from your verifiers to accompany your evidence before you send this to us Your pro-formas must be submitted on the top of your evidence bundle and if your pro-formas are not at the top, your application may be delayed Remember to provide copies of your evidence and not the original documents How do I verify my evidence? Only certain pieces of evidence must be verified: Evidence showing registration with overseas medical regulators Qualifications gained outside the UK Who will authenticate this evidence for me? A solicitor The awarding body Evidence that does not need to be verified: Your CV Feedback Continuing professional development (CPD) certificates, courses relevant to the curriculum, evidence of attendance at teaching or appraisal courses Publications (those available in the public domain) Reflective notes or diaries Honours, prizes, awards or discretionary points Please note, you must still provide copies of the above evidence. Changes made to the CESR application process On 6th November 2018, the online application system for CESR, CEGPR and Review applications is changing. As a result of feedback from a survey, the GMC will not require applications to be submitted electronically – this will make the application process easier and less burdensome for doctors. Advantages to the change: Quicker and cheaper for you as you will not need to print and post large numbers of documents You will be able to use the online application like a portfolio to gather your evidence The application process will be quicker as there will be no delays Please note that you will still be able to submit hard-copied evidence, you will just have to inform the GMC on your online application. References (2018). CESR CEGPR application process. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Sep. 2018].

Interview with Naseer Khan, writer of "Naseer's Journey"

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 30, 2018

Introduction I would like to thank BDI Resourcing for organising this interview, it is an honour for me to be interviewed by them. I would like to start by saying that BDI Resourcing has done some amazing work by creating their blog aimed at helping international doctors relocate to the UK and work within the NHS. I know how difficult it is to create a blog and the amount of dedication it requires. They, therefore, deserve a lot of credit for this reason. I am sure that countless doctors are getting guidance from their blog. What speciality of medicine do you work in and at what hospital? I currently work as an SHO at a rotational post in General Medicine at King’s College Hospital, London. So far, I have worked in the following departments: Stroke, Neurology, AMU, Geriatrics and Frailty. Before this, I worked for 6 months in Renal Medicine and Transplant Surgery at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. Would you share with us your personal mission as a doctor? My dream is to see a top quality and free healthcare system in Pakistan. I would like to take my experiences gained from working within the NHS and help with the development of a similar system in Pakistan. But I do want to take it one step at a time. For now, I wish to move forward in my career, whilst helping my colleagues and juniors. At what point in your career did you decide that you wanted to relocate to the UK? And what were your motivations for wanting to do so? During my time at medical school, my aim was to attempt the USMLE and relocate to the United States. However, I always felt that it was a very difficult exam and I was unsure I would have been able to pass it. I attended a career guidance seminar at Aga Khan University, Karachi in January 2014 and the seminar convinced me to sit the PLAB exams and relocate to the United Kingdom instead. I chose the PLAB route into the NHS because I found it to be the shortest, easiest, least expensive and the most convenient pathway. For you, what are the key benefits of living in the UK? There are many advantages to living in the UK, but here are the most important ones to me: A quick start: PLAB is an easy exam and it does not take much time Quality earnings: The starting salary for a doctor is the same in the UK as it is in the USA, making the decision to relocate to the UK a lot easier The UK is a welfare state It is fascinating to see how a free healthcare system function’s As a doctor in the UK, you will be in a position to make a difference You will have the freedom to do whatever you like British people are incredibly nice and friendly You will have enough finances to buy any car in the world As a junior doctor, you will earn enough to buy your own house How long did it take you to relocate, how difficult was the process and do you recommend it to others? I decided to sit PLAB in January 2014 and I started working in the UK in August 2017, taking me three years. In fact, I should have started working in the UK in August 2015. However, I had to wait two years because of the CoS and visa rejections. The rejections myself and many other doctors faced hurt me deeply and caused a significant amount of depression for me. But I learnt a lot from the experience. If it had not been for the visa rejections I would never have made my blog to help guide doctors to the UK on such a large scale. I am blessed to be working in the UK and I cannot thank my parents and Dr Hamed Salehi enough for making this possible for me. With regards to recommending others, I want people to know that the NHS has more jobs than ever before. The NHS is severely short of doctors and Brexit will create even more jobs for international doctors because we will be in the same boat as EEA citizens. Please note that PLAB is a very easy exam – do not be afraid to sit it. We are blessed that there is so much guidance available online for doctors who wish to work in the UK. No other route has this amount of guidance and support available. Having said this, people should weigh up the pros and cons of each route in the NHS and make their own decisions. Is there anything you would have liked to have known before deciding to relocate? And now once you are living in the UK? I cannot think of anything specific that people should know before coming to the UK. What I am grateful for is how nice people were to me on Facebook. Facebook was an excellent tool for building connections with people even before coming to the UK. When I arrived in the UK, I did, however, know a lot of people who I learnt the basics about working within the NHS. These people were not active on Facebook and they learnt things the hard way. My advice to doctors who wish to come to the UK is to join all the relevant Facebook groups and to keep their eyes and ears open to any advice doctors are offering. How long did it take you to settle into the UK? My first job in the UK was in Cosham, Portsmouth. It is a very nice, clean, green, quiet, small, wet and rainy town on the south coast of the UK. I decided to live in hospital accommodation, which was only thirty seconds from the hospital entrance. The food market and the nearest train station were only five minutes away from the hospital. I did not mind the fact that Cosham was a small and quiet place. I know this may surprise a lot of people, but I am a very shy and quiet person; I am an introvert. So, I was very happy in Portsmouth. However, I must admit that I found the love of my life who lived in London. Therefore, after spending six months in Portsmouth, I decided to move to the UK’s capital. I was very happy and excited to move to London as it is the best city in the world. All your dreams can be made true in London. The only downside to life in London is the expensive property rents. I live near King’s College Hospital, which is a very expensive area to live in. However, I must confess that I have easily saved the same amount of money as I was saving in Portsmouth. So, living in London is not only possible but you can even save money whilst living here. It all depends on how good you are at saving your finances. But as much as I confessed earlier, I am a shy, quiet and private person so I do not go out much. As much as I love London, long-term, I don’t think the lifestyle is for me. So, I will try and get my training outside of the city. How would you describe the support you received from your hospital after starting your new position? I love the people in the UK. The HR at King’s were extremely supportive towards me. They helped me with documentation, they also kindly arranged a two-week paid observership period for me. The Consultants were also extremely nice to me, they were willing to give me the margin to learn and adapt to the system. Most of the registrars and SHOs were also very helpful and supportive. Having said this, the first few weeks or months at your first job in the UK are bound to be difficult. It takes time to adjust and so you should be prepared for things to be tough at first. Whenever you change jobs, you will again have to adapt to a new system. Therefore, it is ideal to stay at the same job until you find training. On reflection, what I did by switching jobs was not ideal. But well, I wanted to get married and start a new life. So, I am very happy with my decision to move to London. What are your views on the NHS as a system? Working within it and as a patient who receives care? The NHS provides free healthcare to people regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity or financial background. The system is designed on the basis of humanity. There is nothing more beautiful than this. For me, it is an honour and a privilege to be part of this system. When I fractured my finger last year, I became a patient of the NHS. I was treated for free. I was also given paid sick leave to cover my period of illness. I could not have asked for better care. How do you find working in the UK compared to your home country? Working in the UK is completely different from working in Pakistan. There is a lot I can say here, but to keep it simple, there are two main differences between working in the UK and Pakistan: In Pakistan, doctors are underpaid. In the UK we are given our fair share. In the UK, making a mistake can be costly because of the lawsuits. Therefore, we must be more cautious and careful while working. What are your hopes for the future? My hopes for the NHS: The NHS has changed the way that I look at healthcare. I have nothing but respect for the healthcare system in the UK. I wish to see the NHS saving more and more lives and making more and more people’s lives better. My hopes for my country’s healthcare system: I wish to see a similar system in Pakistan. My hopes for myself: I wish to become a GP and to make a positive influence and difference in as many people’s lives as I can. Conclusion Thank you so much for taking the time for reading this interview. I would like to wish the best of luck to BDI Resourcing and I hope they can keep helping doctors as much as they can.

Why travelling is important for your career...

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 20, 2018

Many people think that “learning” involves being in a classroom or spending hours training in the workplace. However, often people forget that professional development can be excelled outside of the workplace. When you travel around the world you are forced to interact with different people and see a new way of living. These new experiences and lessons can translate into your career making travel invaluable to your professional development. In today’s post we provide you with five reasons why it is essential to find the time to travel during your career: Time to relax and refresh Having some time to step away from your daily routine will give your brain some time to decompress. Even if your holiday itinerary includes physical activity such as walking, hiking or water sports – your mind is still able to relax and reset itself. On your return to work, your mind and body will be reinvigorated, and this will be evident in your performance in the workplace. New perspectives When you are taken from your world to another you will soon realise that your problems are relatively small and insignificant in comparison – which will lift away your stresses and pressures. Travelling to another country will always teach you new values and perspectives. New values will increase your ability to understand others and build great working relationships with both colleagues and patients. The opportunity to meet new people It is human nature to get stuck into the same routine, take the same route to work, see the same people and go to the same coffee shop – but travel gives you the opportunity to experience new experiences, connect with new people meaning the networking opportunities are endless. A great stress buster The stress of work and daily demands can distract us from what we find to be meaningful and interesting. So, mixing up your daily routine with a holiday allows you to relax and recharge, forgetting about the stresses left back home. Even though we are often busy when we travel with the endless sightseeing, exploring places by foot and taking photos – travelling helps us stay calm and helps us reflect our personal goals and interests. Motivation to learn a language Immersion in a new city and its culture is the most effective way to pick up a new language. Taking a language class or using online resources to learn is great, but the best and most effective way to become proficient in a new language is to put yourself in a situation in which you have to constantly use it in your day-to-day communication in order to interact with others. Furthermore, bilingual individuals are able to communicate and interact within multiple communities. This is especially advantageous when working in a hospital as you will have a range of people who speak different languages coming to see you. Often people hesitate to travel because of busy personal lives, financial restrictions or pressures at work. But when you think of all the benefits including both personal and professional, there is no need to feel guilty. Remember, travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. If you are an IMG who is interested in relocating to the UK and working within the NHS send your CV to and one of our Specialist Advisers will be in touch. Come and say hello! Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor for access to frequent blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions about working within the NHS and meet other IMGs.

After arriving in the UK - what should I do first?

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 09, 2018

Setting up a UK bank account Whether you’re thinking of moving to the UK or you have already arrived, at some point you’re going to need a UK bank account. In the past, opening a bank account was very difficult if you were new to the UK. Thankfully, these days, it has become slightly easier. Here’s how to go about it. What Documents Do I Need? To open a UK bank account, you will need two documents: one to prove your identity and one to prove your address. This applies both in branch and online. To prove your identity just need your passport, driving licence or identity card (if you’re an EU national). Every bank has its own list of what documents are acceptable as proof of address. Broadly speaking, however, these include: a tenancy agreement or mortgage statement; a recent electricity or gas bill (less than 3 months old); a recent (less than 3 months old) bank or credit card statement that’s not printed off the internet; or a current council tax bill. Of course, if you’re new to the UK, you probably don’t have any of the documents on this list. However, most banks now accept a letter from your employer as proof of address (please ensure the letter is within three months old). Can I Open A Bank Account Before I Arrive In The UK? Yes, you can. Your home bank may be able to set up an account for you if it has a correspondent banking relationship with a British bank. Many major UK banks also have so-called ‘international’ accounts. These are designed specifically for non-residents, so they’re a great option if you don’t have the documents to prove your UK address. In fact, you can even apply for an international account online. Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, and NatWest all offer international bank accounts. However, opening a bank account from abroad or an international account may not be the right choice for you. Very often, you will have to make a big initial deposit and commit to paying in a minimum amount of money each month. Some banks will also charge you a monthly fee in addition to these requirements. This can make your bank account expensive to open and run, especially if you still don’t have a job. Other restrictions could also apply, which includes not being able to close the account and switch to a better deal until a set period of time expires. Which Bank Is Best For My Needs? Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. The banking industry in the UK is very competitive, and many banks have special products designed to attract a specific type of customer. Things To Consider When Choosing a Bank Because you’re new to the UK, you have a limited credit history and not much documentation. Some banks are strict with their requirements, so opening a bank account with them will be difficult. It’s usually easier to open an account with one of the UK’s largest banks - Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC or RBS/NatWest. These banks have been in business for a long time and are very financially strong. They also have a lot of experience dealing with international customers, so they are a bit more understanding of your situation and flexible with their requirements. The Big Four UK Banks There are more than ten retail banks in the UK, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. However, the biggest four UK banks are Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS/NatWest. Barclays Barclays is one of the oldest banks in the UK, and has more than 1500 branches around the country. It’s also probably one of the easiest banks to open an account with if you’re new to the UK. In fact, you can even pre-apply for an account online before you arrive in the UK. The account is free and comes with a contactless visa debit card as standard. However, you won’t be able to use your account immediately. Once you’re in the UK, you have to visit a branch with your reference number, passport, and proof of address in order to activate the account. Lloyds Lloyds is the largest provider of current accounts in the UK and has about 1300 branches throughout the country. Opening a bank account is very easy, even if you have just arrived in the UK. In fact, Lloyds has a special new to the UK account which you can normally open with just your passport or identity card (if you’re an EU citizen). The account is free and comes with a contactless visa debit card as standard. HSBC HSBC has more than 1100 branches around England and Wales, but a lower number in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Of course, HSBC’s biggest advantage is that it operates in more than 80 countries around the world. If you bank with HSBC in your home country, they can help you set up an account in the UK before you get here. The basic current account includes free telephone and internet banking and comes with a visa debit card. However, whether you get a contactless card will depend on your individual circumstances. You may also have to undergo a credit check before opening your account. Please note that BDI Resourcing has a personal contact at HSBC who supports IMG’s setting up a UK bank account – so please email us at for those details. RBS/NatWest The RBS Group owns the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. Because they’re part of the same group, both the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest have broadly similar products. However, most of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s 700 branches are located in Scotland, whilst NatWest has over 1,400 branches all over the UK. NatWest’s Select current account is free to use and comes with a contactless visa debit card as standard. You’ll also get access to an emergency cash service, so you can withdraw money from your account using just a security code if your card is lost or stolen. Other Banks While Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS/NatWest are the four biggest banks in the UK, there are also other banks you can check. TSB is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best banks in the UK. It’s quite easy to open an account, even if you’re new to the UK; and the Classic Plus account has some great perks. These include 5% interest each month on the first £2,000 in your account and 5% cashback each month on your first £100 contactless payments. Santander is very popular because of its 1|2|3| Account. This offers up to 3% cashback on household bills and 3% interest on balances between £3,000 and £20,000. Unfortunately, you’ll need to undergo a credit check when you apply for this account, so if you’re new to the UK you probably won’t qualify. However, once you’ve been in the UK for a while (perhaps a year or so), it’s a good idea to look at it. Of course, it’s always best to look at what different banks have to offer and see who has the best deal. Don’t commit to a product without at least having a look at what else is out there. What Are The Costs? You can get a basic current account at no monthly cost from most high street banks. This should be more than enough for your everyday banking needs. Most banks also have premium accounts that offer additional benefits such as cashback on household bills, in-credit interest, and insurance. However, these accounts will often have monthly fees and minimum eligibility requirements; and you may not qualify if you’re new to the UK. You’ll also need to be careful to stay in credit. Unless you have a planned overdraft facility, your bank may charge large fees if you withdraw more money than you have in your account. It’s always a good idea to read through your bank’s terms and conditions. That way, you’ll avoid any nasty surprises. ATM Fees Withdrawing money from an ATM is free if you use one of your bank’s ATM machines. Many banks also offer free cash withdrawals even if you’re not a customer. However, some ATM machines aren’t free; and can charge you between £1.50 and £3 per transaction. If you’re not using one of your bank’s ATM machines, check the machine first. Many free ATM machines will state that they are free. Similarly, some paid machines will warn you about charges before you can complete the transaction. Getting a mobile phone UK mobile companies operate using the Global System for Mobile (GSM) standard so if your mobile phone is compatible with GSM, all you need to do is exchange your current SIM for a UK SIM. However, not all international mobile phones will work with British mobile phone service providers so this will mean that you will need to get your phone unlocked prior to travelling to the UK or buy a UK mobile phone when you arrive in the UK. Furthermore, the UK has thousands of WiFi points and excellent 4G mobile coverage so you will never be without the internet. How do I get a UK SIM card? To get a UK SIM card you can apply online or visit a high street shop. There are two options available which are contract or pay-as-you-go. The most popular UK Mobile Companies: EE O2 Vodafone 3 Virgin GiffGaff Advantages of getting a contract SIM/Phone A brand-new smartphone, with often no upfront cost The option of an upgrade to a newer phone when your contract is about to end No need to top up as the contract with come with a monthly allowance of calls, texts, and data. This means you do not have to monitor your credit and be at the disadvantage of going to top up. Advantages of getting a pay-as-you-go SIM Cheaper monthly cost because the price does not include the cost of a new phone Greater flexibility from the choice of different terms. You can commit to a 12-month plan, 30-day rolling plan or just pay for what you use Freedom to switch network providers for a better deal at any time How to unlock your phone in the UK Most UK mobile phone providers only allow you to unlock your phone if you have had it for 12-months or longer. You should ask your mobile phone provider their price for unlocking your existing phone. What UK mobile plan should I choose? If you opt for a contract phone it is important to shop around for the best deals as the UK mobile phone market is competitive. The cost of your UK mobile phone is typically factored into the monthly charges but some providers offer the handset for free. Before agreeing to a contract, it is important to remember how often you use your mobile, what you use it for and then consider that when choosing a deal. Although anyone can buy a UK mobile phone, you must note that not everyone is entitled to a UK mobile contract due to credit history and if you do not have enough credit history in the UK you can be refused. Therefore, you might have to purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM then change to a contract deal once you have built up your credit rating.   What is a National Insurance Number? Also referred to as an ‘NI’ number, a National Insurance number is the unique code (made of numbers and letters) given to every UK citizen who is eligible to pay tax contributions. Residents automatically receive one just before their 16th birthday, and your NI number remains the same for life, even if you marry, change names or move abroad. The National Insurance number records your personal National Insurance contributions and taxes, for every job you have during your lifetime. It also allows you access to NHS services, benefits, and to register to vote in the UK elections. How do I get one? Typically, your National Insurance (NI) number is printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP) and you will not need to apply for an NI number if you already have one. However, if your NI number is not printed on your card then you must apply for one and your application can only be made once you are in the UK. Please note that you will be able to start work before your NI number arrives and you should tell the hospital that you have applied for one and then provide it to them once you have it. National Insurance Interview The Job Centre Plus could write and ask you to come to an interview where you will be asked about your personal circumstance and why you need an NI number. The letter will ask you to bring certain documentation to prove your identity, such as your passport, BRP, birth certificate or driving licence. At the interview, you will be told how long it will take to receive your NI number. Collecting BRP   You will receive a biometric residence permit (BRP) if you apply to come to the UK for longer than 6 months and apply to settle in the UK. Your BRP card will include your name, date of birth, and place of birth, your fingerprints, a photo of your face and your immigration status. You will not need to apply for a BRP on top of your Visa application as it will automatically be issued to you. When you arrive in the UK you will need to collect your BRP. You must collect your card within a certain number of days of arriving in the UK, and that date will be stated on your Visa acceptance letter. You can collect your card from either a named Post Office branch or your Sponsor (hospital) if you chose this option when you applied. Visiting the Police Station Often people will need to register with the police after they arrive in the UK with their Visa. To check if you need to register with the UK police you will need to check your Visa vignette (the sticker in your passport). If you do need to register it will have ‘police registration’ or ‘register with police within 7 days of entry’. Please note that if you fail to register your permission to stay in the UK will be shortened and you will have to leave and you can also be stopped from getting a UK Visa in the future. In addition, please be consider that you may be required to bring relevant documentation with you and this documentation will need to be in a hard-copy, electronic copies will not be accepted. After you have registered with the police you will receive a registration certificate. Keep this certificate safe to prove you have registered with the police, return to the UK after travel and apply to stay in the UK for a longer period. Registering with a GP / Dentist Anyone in the UK can register and consult with a GP without charge. UK GP’s are self-employed and have contracts with the NHS. An application to join a practice may only be refused if the practice has reasonable grounds for doing so. To find GP services in your area please follow this link. Once you have your chosen practice you should visit it in person to register. They will ask you to complete a GMS1 form as part of your application to register. GP practices are not required to request proof of identity or immigration status, however, they could ask to see proof of name and date of birth. Documents that they would accept are your passport, driving licence or home office letter. They may also ask for proof of address, which can be proved by a recent utility bill or a council tax bill. Dentist You will not need to register with a dentist in the same way as with a GP because you are not bound to a catchment area. You can simply find a dentist that is suitable for you which can be done so via this link. When you have found a dentist, you should go into the practice or call them to ask if you can register as an NHS patient. Please note that not all dentists provide NHS treatments. If you are accepted then you will be asked your name and address, ask you to sign a form to register and arrange for you to have a dental check-up (typically this is free). Registering your utility bills When you have found a property to move into you will need to set up the household bills. First, you should contact the current supplier at your new property to tell them you have moved in and if you do not know who the current supplier is then follow this link for some advice. Second, read the meters the day you move in to ensure you receive an accurate first bill. You will automatically be put onto a ‘deemed’ contract with the current supplier of the property which is typically one of the most expensive tariffs so you should look for a better deal with the current supplier or a new one as soon as you move in. Please note that switching suppliers usually takes about 21 days so you will have to pay at least one bill with the current supplier. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you are an IMG who is interested in relocating to the UK and working for the NHS then send your CV to – and one of our specialist team would be happy to advise you.

Advantages of working in the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 30, 2018

Advantages of working in the UK Welcome to the start of our blog series. This series is going to guide you through the process of how to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS - providing you with the important details and the opportunity to ask questions and receive support. Our first post is aimed at outlining the fundamental advantages of an International Medical Graduate relocating to the UK and working within the NHS. Did you know that the NHS is the largest employer in the UK and Europe? It is one of the largest healthcare systems in the world as it employs over 1.5 million people to hundreds of diverse roles. However, currently there is a shortage of Doctor’s in the UK and therefore the system is continually looking to employ more clinicians. As an international doctor, no matter what speciality and area of the NHS you join, you will become part of a skilled, devoted and passionate team of people whose priority is to provide the best healthcare and treatment to their patients. Rewarding work All doctors who have worked hard to master the science and the art of modern clinical practice, create a tremendously positive impact on their patient’s lives every single day. As a healthcare professional, IMG’s will be able to satisfy their passion to help others whilst simultaneously earning a living. For most people, there are generally two common themes behind their reason for becoming a doctor. The first theme is their ability to make a positive difference to a patient’s life. Whether a patient needs pain relief or a life-threatening operation, for a doctor, to be the person who alleviates their pain or change their life is extremely fulfilling. The second theme behind a doctor’s chosen career path is their ability to develop relationships with their patients. A doctor-patient relationship can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several decades, but nevertheless, the personal element of the relationship allows a doctor to respond genuinely and subjectively to their patients. This allows the doctor-patient relationship to develop into a genuine connection rather than the doctor simply providing a service. Training One of the principal reasons that people decide to leave their job is due to the lack of opportunities their employer offers and they yearn for a chance to gain new skills and knowledge. For the NHS, it is fundamental for their system to provide their employees with the opportunity to advance their skills and develop their careers. For all levels and specialities within the NHS, we believe that the NHS in conjunction with the Royal Medical Colleges provide some of the best medical training programs in the world. Job Stability Another advantage of being a doctor in the UK is job stability. Whilst there are people and sickness within the world doctors will always be needed. There are over 250,000 doctors working for the NHS, with over 70,000 of those receiving their primary medical qualification from abroad, and there is a continuous call for more IMG's to come and work in the UK. Furthermore, most hospitals and healthcare centres in the UK are open 24/7 which means that all healthcare professionals will always have full-time hours. But as hospitals are demanding institutions, most employees are offered overtime because of the high demand of patient’s needs. 4. Income  Healthcare professional’s salaries differ dependent on the doctor’s experience, speciality and setting. However, most doctors enjoy above-average earnings and if you are a speciality doctor you will earn a basic salary of £37,923 to £70,718. In addition to your basic salary there is a potential to earn additional income. This can be done via: Additional Programmed Activities (PA’s) Bank locums within your hospital Agency locums in surrounding areas Private work Pension and Benefits The NHS offers their employees outstanding pension packages and is one of the most generous and comprehensive schemes available in the UK. An NHS pension includes life assurance benefits, ill health benefits and voluntary early retirement benefits and a full range of other benefits. Furthermore, all NHS employees are entitled to a minimum of 27 days annual leave, which will increase to 29 days after 5 years and 33 days after 10 years’ service, plus 8 days public holidays. However, it is important to note that entitlement to Annual Leave will be determined by each individual NHS Trust. Moreover, the NHS pension scheme is one of the most generous and comprehensive schemes available in the UK. Membership of the scheme is automatic when you join the NHS and as part of the scheme, the NHS pay a contribution equal up to 14.3% of your salary towards the cost of your pension. UK lifestyle Moving to the UK can offer a life of history and culture and society full of diversity. The UK is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, which makes her the longest-serving current head of state. The UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK’s capital and largest city is London and other major cities in the UK include Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast. Despite the UK being geographically small, it is extremely influential in world trade and politics. Not only is the UK influential in the economy, it possesses beautiful architecture and is well-known for its music, films, literature and football. Britain is a vastly ethnically diverse society with rising numbers of people who identify themselves as an ethnic minority. With over 1.5 million people being from an Indian or Asian group who are all spread across the entire UK. Furthermore, 26% of the NHS workforce are international Doctors and 11% European Doctors. Although it is difficult to count the number of mosques in the UK, as it is any other place of worship, research has identified over 2,000 mosques across the whole of the UK. In addition, specialist food suppliers are also nationally distributed. All major supermarkets and restaurants supply halal meat, including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Zizzi and Nando’s. In addition, we recognise that relocation to a different country often has a large impact on family life. Therefore, we will be able to offer practical advice on family life including UK schools for your children and language classes. Schools The majority of schools in the UK are owned by the state, completely free to attend, and follow a National Curriculum. Children who are aged five to eleven will attend primary school before moving onto secondary school. Because of the decentralisation process in the UK, the schooling system can vary between different regions. Nevertheless, education for all children is compulsory for children aged five to sixteen and the school leaving age is eighteen, however the last two years are optional. The school year typically runs from the beginning of September to the end of July. Language English is the most widely used language across the world and has a large vocabulary with nearly half a million words. This is resultant of the various groups of people, nationalities and cultures that use the language. For international Doctors relocating to the UK they must first have passed the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The IELTS is required by the UK Home Office for each category of visa applications. The test will assess all your English skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking designed to reflect how you will use English at work in your new life. However, for your family members who will not have to take the IELTS, but will want to improve their English there are a couple of different learning options for them. First, there are hundreds of language centres that are members of Accreditation UK. Or second, there are several online courses, where an individual can improve their English language skills from the comfort of their own home. Overall, there are endless advantages to relocating to the UK and working within the NHS. If you have made the decision to do so, send your CV to - and one of our Specialist Advisers will be happy to guide you. Come and say hello! Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor. Here, you will have the opportunity to ask relocation questions, receive professional support and meet other IMG's!

What is a Resident Medical Officer?

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 25, 2018

Resident Medical Officer What is a Resident Medical Officer? In some countries, a Resident Medical Officer (RMO) is a junior doctor who is their training. However, in the UK, an RMO is a resident doctor working in a private hospital. In the UK, there are over 250 private hospitals and the RMO’s play an important role. In this article, we provide you with a list of advantages and disadvantages of being an RMO, who works as an RMO, their responsibilities and the pay you can expect to receive.   Advantages and Disadvantages Advantages Disadvantages Introduction to private practice No formal clinical training Membership of private healthcare plan Occasional loneliness and boredom Low level of stress at work Drop in salary Time to study at work No NHS pension scheme Who works as an RMO? In the past decade, there has been a large expansion in independent healthcare and medical research, and so RMO positions have been increasingly linked with research positions within various NHS departments. In this instance, the researcher will receive a basic salary on the condition that they spend at least one day of the week practicing at the private hospital. Recently, due to the shortage of doctors in the UK, private hospitals have started to recruit from overseas as it is a good opportunity for IMGs to get their first job in the UK, then find an NHS position later. For British doctors working as an RMO, they may be waiting for their preferred position in the NHS (such as a specialist register post) and have decided to work as an RMO for six months. Some doctors enjoy working as an RMO whilst they are undertaking research. An RMO position provides the opportunity for free time during and after work – which allows doctors to finish off their research projects and write papers, without the stress and high work levels found in an NHS post. Alternatively, some doctors do RMO doctors as a vocation. They are career RMOs who enjoy the low-stress element of their work and it allows them to enjoy other elements of their life, such as travelling and spending time with family and friends.   The responsibilities of an RMO The duties of an RMO can range from a house officer to a registrar. Typically, there may be a couple of RMO’s on duty in the day but only one RMO will cover the night shift. As an RMO, you will be expected to be on-site during your contracted hours in case of emergency situations, such as cardiac arrest. To apply for an RMO position a certain level of clinical experience and proficiency is expected, advanced life support is essential, and a postgraduate qualification will be desirable.   RMO’s Contract Most contracts will require an RMO to work between 24-48 hours per week with the rest of their time left free to work on their research and personal projects. Some hospitals allow RMO’s to be on duty for a whole week, alternating with 2-3 weeks off. The hospital will allow annual leave and you will sometimes find some hospitals to make a contribution towards course fees.   How much will I get paid? The pay for an RMO position is typically the same as the individuals previous NHS post. The pay is a basic salary, which includes on-calls. There may be the opportunity to do locum work at the hospital, where you can receive an additional £5-10k to your salary. If you have any questions about RMO work or are interested in working within the NHS contact us at – and we will be happy to help you.   References[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="1" gal_title="All Galleries"]

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