Covid-19 update: Britain is still open for doctor recruitment

britain is open for business

The NHS is actively seeking doctors from overseas. Britain needs skilled professionals across all areas of medicine, and the National Health Service has long relied on skilled professionals from abroad to bolster its work-force.

Yes, Covid-19 has added some restrictions to international travel. However, this has done nothing to stop the drive for international NHS recruitment, both from the Government and from individual NHS trusts themselves.

Remedium has been finding permanent NHS positions for doctors from overseas throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. We’re dedicated to ensuring that Covid-19 doesn’t restrict the many talented doctors based outside the UK from starting their NHS career.

Have you been considering relocating to the UK to start your career as an NHS doctor? If you have, here are a few reasons why Covid-19 isn’t the reason to delay you may think it is.

The NHS is busier than it’s ever been

Whilst many industries in the UK effectively ground to a halt due to Covid-19, demand for healthcare provision didn’t stop. Every aspect of the NHS, including recruitment, were just as busy as ever (or busier).

Some of this demand was for obvious reasons. Intensive care units, for example, were put under an incredible amount of extra strain. As the frontline in the defence against Covid-19, ICU’s across the country saw the busiest periods in their history. There was also the extra staffing required for the various Nightingale hospitals set up across the UK.

There was also less obvious increases in demand. Mental health and psychiatry services saw record-breaking levels of demand, as an example. Regular treatments were also still continuing, albeit with delays in certain cases.

All of these departments have required additional staff during the pandemic. Prior to 2020, the NHS was experiencing staff shortages across the board. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased this demand, rather than halted it. At Remedium we’ve had continued requests for permanent doctors to fill vacancies of all levels and specialisms across the UK throughout the pandemic.

Updated Code of Practice allows hiring from new countries

In February of 2021, the UK government announced changes to the NHS Code of Practice (CoP) for international recruitment. These changes were made with the express purpose of making hiring overseas professionals easier for the NHS and their 3rd party recruitment partners like Remedium.

The new NHS Code of Practice has opened up over 100 additional regions and territories to international NHS recruitment. The new list of direct-hiring restricted countries stands at only 47. This is down from 152 excluded territories. The updated CoP brings NHS international hiring in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for healthcare international recruitment best practice.

Even if you’re not based in one of the newly included countries, you can take these changes as a positive sign that both the NHS and UK government are ready for, and welcome, new arrivals from overseas that are ready to add their valuable skills and experience to the National Health Service.

The vaccine rollout is working

The UK government has made clear from the beginning that any changes to Covid-19 policy would be based on scientific advice. This has always been dependant on keeping infection, hospitalisation, and death rates low, and ensuring the NHS isn’t at risk of being overwhelmed.

Whilst there have been many efforts to reduce levels of Covid-19 in the UK, like many countries we experienced several spikes. The difference between the current spike, and its recession over the last few weeks, is clear. The NHS has embarked on the largest mass vaccination in human history, and it’s working.

With each day that passes more of the UK population receives its vaccination. We are already beginning to see the positive impact of this on both infection and death rates. Whilst nothing is ever certain, current trends indicate that the UK’s vaccination program will see levels reduce to a level that allows further restrictions to be lifted.

NHS international recruitment demand is high

The NHS has relied on international recruitment to address staff shortages and skills drain for decades. This isn’t just restricted to doctors; in every position from nurse to healthcare assistant, a significant percentage are recruited from overseas.

Demand for overseas health professionals has not declined during the pandemic. Yes, recruitment levels did fluctuate especially during the first few months of the pandemic and the initial lockdown in the UK. However, at Remedium we have seen a steady demand for overseas doctors of all levels throughout. For the Remedium team, it may not have been business as usual, but our overseas recruitment experts were as busy as ever.

We’ve had requests for doctors in every discipline from psychiatry to intensive care throughout 2020 and 2021. For many of these, we found a talented professional from overseas. We’ve assisted them at every stage of relocation, including all extra steps necessary due to Coronavirus.

Now that we’re finally seeing the current Covid spike in the UK recede this demand is only going to further increase. As trusted NHS international recruitment partners, Remedium is privileged to have a high level of insight into the drives and initiatives of NHS recruitment and workforce planning.

As more travel restrictions are lifted and the vaccine rollout drives Covid-19 hospitalisation levels down, increased efforts are going to be made to address skills and staff shortages. It will be impossible to do this without significant international recruitment, and both the Government and NHS have acknowledged this.

Travelling to the UK- what to expect

As we mentioned, at Remedium we’ve been helping doctors relocate to the UK throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite what you may have heard, travel to the UK from abroad is not only possible, it is wanted by the Government for individuals with much-needed skillsets. Doctors and medical professionals are most definitely on that list.

If you’ve been considering starting a career in the UK’s world-renowned health service, but are unsure of how Coronavirus restrictions will impact your journey, here’s a rundown on what to expect as of UK government Covid-19 guidelines in March 2021.

What to do before you travel to the UK- Covid-19 tests

Firstly, you must check that the country you’re in isn’t currently on the UK travel Covid-19 red list. If you’ve travelled internationally recently, you must also check you haven’t visited any of the red list countries. This list is constantly being updated, and with each month that passes, further countries are being removed from the list as the Covid-19 situation there improves.

If you have completed all the usual paperwork needed prior to UK entry for your country, and aren’t travelling from a red list destination, there is only one additional step you’ll need to take.

You’ll need to book and take 2 Covid-19/Coronavirus tests prior to entry into the UK. These have to produce a negative result for you to be allowed to travel. One of these tests must be taken no longer than 3 days before departure. According to UK government guidelines, results must be in English, French, or Spanish.

What to do when you arrive in the UK- quarantine and self-isolating

Once you arrive in the UK you need to self isolate for 10 days. This 10-day quarantine is mandatory regardless of where you’re travelling from, even for UK citizens.

If you’ve recently been through a country on the banned travel/red list, you’ll have to quarantine in a managed Covid-19 quarantine hotel. If not, you must self-isolate in the place that you’ll be staying.

Starting your NHS Career in 2021 with Remedium

We’ve been assisting doctors from across the globe to relocate to the UK throughout the pandemic. Our team of experts have been recognised for their level of understanding and helpfulness with every aspect of the transition by our candidates. We’ve assisted our doctors at every stage from finding and arranging accommodation through to where to find and arrange Covid tests.

The UK has seen a lot of international media attention in the last few months. Despite what you may have heard, the situation on the ground is that overseas doctors and healthcare professionals are very much needed and welcome. If you’ve been considering relocating to the UK to join the NHS, register with us today. The team looks forward to getting in touch to discuss your first steps towards your exciting and rewarding career as an NHS doctor in the UK.

See our How to get a job in the NHS Guide for everything you need to know about starting your NHS Career.

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