In 2000 I finished my speciality in Gastroenterology at the Hospital of Navarra. In those years, I had heard through the College of Physicians of Navarra by an institution of the United Kingdom (UK) offered an opportunity for Spanish doctors who wanted to, form/and or work in the UK. I found it very interesting and attractive but at that time it looked very complicated, at least through this institution. I had limited financial resources. After finishing my speciality, I worked in different hospitals mainly in Catalonia. In 2009 I again heard about doctors who came to work in England, especially from Eastern Europe and got on very well. I decided to try my luck, if only for a few months. That was in July 2010 and I am still here.
Is it worth it?
• Economically there is no comparison. There are differences from one hospital to another but in general terms, salaries are much higher than in Spain. Depending on your level of medical degree (FY, Registrar, Staff Grade or Consultant – see equivalents in Spain-) and the experience of having worked or not in the UK you can earn a lot of money. The higher you rank the more you can earn.
• There are quite a few advantages of working in the UK hospitals as well. When doing clinics for example, the time you have to see a new patient is normally 30 minutes and for follow up patients it is 15 minutes. There may be exceptions, on your authorisation, but this is not often. You will not normally have many patients because there is limited time and the hospitals normally respect this.
• You can negotiate the terms of your contract: for example the flexibility of your work and your Job plan. Negotiate also details like having breaks from work, accepting or not doing on-calls, etc. Many Agencies pay round trip flight tickets and help you find and pay for your accommodation for as long as you work for them. On this website we offer advice on all these aspects.
• There are wide and varied jobs. There are offers (as you will see in the section of the job) for days, weekends, weeks, months and also of course ongoing or long term posts. As you can see, you do not necessarily have to stay in England.
Unlike in Spain, here there is an active coordination and communication with the GPs (General Practitioners). When diagnosing and treating patients, every hospital is very strict in following guidelines and protocols from the British Medical Society. This means you are constantly updated in your knowledge and skills. In all hospitals, there are departments in charge of monitoring and checking your patients so they are on delayed in getting their diagnostic tests, you have requested. There are many multi-disciplinary meetings (MDT’s) to discuss cases of special concern like malignancies.
The General Medical Council (GMC) requires evaluations annually (appraisals) for all doctors and recently has also established a process called “Revalidation”(every 5 years) to check the capacity and suitability of doctors to continue treating patients.
If you are not used to moving, maybe adapting to the country will be difficult for you, especially if you come with your family.
The weather especially in winter is sometimes hard, and it is worse the further north you are. Another drawback is the relative cost of living, which is true in big cities like London or Manchester or those in the south.
I cannot think of any other apparent disadvantages. If leaving your country and friends and moving with your family is a problem, you can then choose to accept short term contracts for days, weekends or weeks. You can negotiate a flat for your family for the duration of your contract. You do not necessarily have to leave your country permanently.