GUIDE TO WORKING IN THE UK FOR INTERNATIONAL DOCTORS:
Why work in the UK?
Similar MBBS curriculum taught in the UK is similar to many countries (textbooks and lecture format), therefore knowledge and skills are transferrable between several systems. Knowledge and skills gained in the applicant’s home country can be applied and developed further in specialized training in a developed country.
Useful support network available for new doctors- as over 170,000 international doctors already practice in the UK. Many organisations and communities are present to help new doctors adjust.
The NHS is considered one of the top healthcare systems in the world and there is high international demand for knowledge and skills acquired by those working in the NHS.
The NHS currently has over 9000 vacant job roles and are looking to employ talented doctors from abroad. Creating ample opportunity for international doctors to work in the NHS and access high-quality education and training, diverse experiences, and a good salary. Many opportunities are available for non-UK graduates in general medicine, psychiatry, gynecology, obstetrics and pediatrics.
UK trainees earn between £27,000-£31,000 per annum for a 40-hour week. Trainee specialists earn £37,000 to £47,000. Specialists earn £57,000-£110,000 (or higher as there is no upper limit). General Practitioners earn £78,000-£105,000. There is additional pay for overtime, night shifts, weekend work and on-call allowances (depending on their contract).
Information for Overseas Doctors
All doctors must have registration with a licence to legally practise medicine in the UK and undertake activities restricted by law to doctors, e.g. writing prescriptions and signing death certificates.
The licence to practise is issued by the General Medical Council (GMC) and applies to all doctors in the UK regardless of whether they are working in the NHS or independent sector, either on a full or part time, permanent or locum basis.
It also applies to all levels of registration, whether provisional, full or on the specialist or general practitioner (GP) register.
All doctors intending to practise medicine in the UK are required to be registered with the GMC, follow the GMC’s good medical practice guidance and be subject to the GMC Fitness to Practise actions. Doctors who hold registration but not a licence may be working as an academic or outside the UK. They cannot undertake any of the activities – clinical work – for which UK law requires them to hold a licence to practise.
Doctors who have never been registered with the GMC will have to apply for registration with a licence to practise. They will not be able to apply for registration without a licence.
The requirements for registration in the UK will depend on a number of factors:
- your nationality
- the country in which you gained your primary medical qualification
- the type of work you want to do
- whether or not you have completed a period of post-graduate training or an internship
First you should check that you possess an acceptable primary medical qualification to apply for registration. If you are in any doubt you should check your qualifications status with the GMC.
In addition, international medical graduates (IMGs) will be required to demonstrate their medical knowledge and skills, and all applicants may have to demonstrate they are competent in using the English language before they are registered. NHS Employers has published a helpful guide for IMGs on its website.
Being registered with the GMC does not guarantee that you will find employment within the UK.
Non-European Economic Area nationals
If you are not a UK/EEA national, you will also need to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration regulations to gain the right to enter and work in UK.
All UK medical graduates are required to undertake a two-year Foundation Programme immediately following graduation. The Foundation Programme forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training. Trainees will have the opportunity to gain experience in a series of placements in a variety of specialties and healthcare settings.
Once doctors have completed the Foundation Programme, they may apply for a specialty or general practice training programme.
If you have completed an internship year as part of your degree and are awarded full GMC registration, then you will need to think about entering the foundation programme via a locum post.
Further details are available on the Medical and Dental Recruitment website.