Moving to another country is a big life step and it can seem daunting. It’s important to know why working in the UK is right for you. We have made up a list of our top pros and cons to help you think about your decision.
Quality of training: The UK is home to some of the best hospitals in the world, with innovative research opportunities and experienced consultants who provide an excellent training environment. From specialised nursing staff to physical and occupational therapists, the NHS provides an environment where young doctors can learn about all facets of patient care.
The Foundation Programme: Taking 2 years after medical school to work as a doctor in various rotations gives you the chance to realise which specialty is the right one for you. Even for those lucky few who know what they want to specialise in, the UK Foundation Programme provides precious time to build a strong portfolio and get to know how the NHS works. Trainee positions receive ample support and guidance. In addition, it helps you gain knowledge and skills for your future that will make you a more well-rounded doctor. Finally, Foundation Doctors are encouraged to attend courses and broaden their knowledge as they are financially supported from the Programme. From ILS, ALS, ATLS courses to travel expenses for a conference, the FP has an allocated budget just for junior doctors’ training advancement.
Salary: The cost of living in the UK can be high but rest assured that training as a doctor here will be able to cover your expenses and help you start your career without added financial worries. All training posts are paid, according to grade, location and format of your rota. A foundation doctor earns a basic salary of £28,243 to £32,691 (from 1 April 2020). Depending on on-calls, nights or even extra shifts you may wish to pick up, this amount can drastically increase. For more information on this topic check out healthcarees.nhs.uk
New country, new people, new culture: Moving to another country is an invaluable lifetime experience. You get to meet new people, fresh ideas and expose yourself to a different culture. Whether you live in cosmopolitan London or a colorful UK town, you will get to expand your horizons and create friendships and memories to cherish.
Extra time: A lot of young doctors have already spent 6 years in medical school and are eager to specialise and start their own career as soon as possible. If you are one of them, know that there is no quick way to start specialising in the UK. Unfortunately, it does take the extra 2 years of foundation or a few years of building your portfolio in order to be able to apply for a ST number.
Competition: Specialty training posts are limited and often valuable. Depending on the specialty you want to pursue, you can face harsh competition and find difficulties gaining a position. That said, the NHS employs hundreds of doctors from abroad and you could be one of them. It just takes effort and commitment.
Being an outsider: Working in a health system that you are not familiar with gives you an obvious disadvantage to your competition. UK medical school graduates are well acquainted with the structure of the NHS and you may find yourself swimming in unknown waters for the first few months. Our advice is to immerse yourself in this new system and soon you’ll find that your colleagues (fellow junior doctors and supervisors alike) are more than eager to help you advance.
Missing home: Let’s face it. It’s going to happen from time to time. Some may leave behind family and friends and it can get lonely. Know that you’re not alone in this and every new beginning is difficult. As Paulo Coelho said: ‘If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello’.
This website is not an official UKFPO, GMC or NHS website. It was made by doctors who studied in the EEU and wanted to share their experiences, offer some advice and provide guidance as to where to look and what kind of information you will need to find out on your own. Read more here.
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