At Remedium, we support hundreds of international doctors every year to make their dream move to the UK. However, Britain is a rich tapestry of diverse regions and so some doctors can find it difficult to decide where exactly they should live and work.
We’ve created this guide to help doctors who are interested in coming to work in a UK hospital to make a decision around what area they would like to live in.
Things to consider when moving to the UK as an international doctor
When people think of the UK, they may think first of London – our great capital city, known for its rich history, incredible hospitality and for its access to the arts and free museums. Indeed, London is home to many of the most prestigious NHS hospitals in the world and we work with multiple NHS Trusts across Central and Greater London who offer fantastic opportunities for doctors from overseas who wish to grow their careers.
However, London is only one of England’s exciting and bustling cities. For instance, the Northern cities of Manchester, Leeds and Lancaster are known as centres of culture and innovation and the local communities are famous for their friendly and welcoming character. The hospitals in these cities are known for their dedication to teaching and are regarded highly in the medical profession.
Consider Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Of course, England is just one of Britain’s four home nations and further North still is stunning Scotland, which is renowned for its breath-taking scenery, historical castles and 30,000 lochs (Scottish for lakes!). To the West is Wales, which is famous for its rolling valleys and its rugged coastline, and a short hop across the Irish Sea will take you to Northern Ireland; famed for it’s legendary natural attractions, such as the mystical Giant’s Causeway, and for its rich maritime heritage. at Remedium, we support NHS Trusts across all four home nations to recruit qualified clinicians to help them beat the UK doctor shortage.
Despite the UK being a relatively small island nation, our local cultures and traditions are incredibly diverse and often vary considerably between towns (even if they are only a few miles apart!). This can make it difficult for an international doctor to decide where to live in the UK. The rest of this article will provide some information that you should consider as an IMG making the choice to relocate and work in the NHS.
Cost of Living
The United Kingdom is generally considered to have a high cost of living; however, the cost of living varies depending on where exactly you live. London and the South East of England are the most expensive areas to live in the UK, although if you already have a job offer in these locations, you can shop around for cheaper accommodation. For instance, many people travel into London from the surrounding commuter towns, such as Chatham, Basildon and Luton, as these can be more affordable to live in.
Areas such as Plymouth, Bristol, Kent, Birmingham and Northampton are known for being more affordable places to live, both in terms of housing and general daily living costs. Remedium work closely with hospitals in all of these locations and our recruitment team will be happy to advise you further on how to find a job as a doctor in these NHS Trusts.
City or Countryside
Perhaps you prefer the green and lush British countryside to the hustle and bustle of the major cities. While your working life is a major consideration, it’s important to consider how you like to spend your leisure time outside of your hospital hours too. For instance, if catching waves is your thing then the Isle of Wight is famous for its beautiful beaches and is popular with surfers, kitesurfers and bodyboarders. However, if your preference is for adventures on the land then you might like somewhere like Yorkshire, with the stunning Yorkshire Dales and Lake District close by to take in and explore after a hard week at work.
Local housing and accommodation
Both the quality and quantity of housing available varies considerably depending where you are in the UK, as does the cost of renting or buying a home. Many areas are facing a housing shortage and so sometimes you have to act fast to secure the home you like. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to move to the UK with a family. However, housing costs can be lowered if you are willing to be flexible; for instance if you are willing to live in hospital accommodation or in a house share with other doctors and medical professionals – a popular solution in some of the busier British cities.
If you are offered a job through Remedium then your dedicated onboarding executive will advise you on the availability and cost of local accommodation and will support you to find somewhere suitable to live. We put together a more comprehensive guide to accommodation in the UK which you can find here.
The UK’s crime rate is relatively low when compared to the rest of the world. However, like in any country, local areas will vary in terms of how much criminal activity is present. Local police forces release crime statistics for their respective areas, and many of our international doctors like to consider these statistics when making the move to a new country.
Local schools and childcare
It takes time to qualify as a medical doctor and so many clinicians will already have families and young children by the time they begin practising. Fortunately, education is publicly and freely available for all children in the UK between the ages of 4 and 18. If your child is resident in the UK, they will have access to what is globally recognised as one of the highest standards of publicly provided free education in the world. For many doctors with families, this is the very reason an NHS career is appealing. We put together this handy UK childcare guide for doctors who have children to consider when relocating.
The United Kingdom is a particularly connected country, with a well-established network or motorways and railways acting as major transport links. Major cities will often act as major transport hubs and will be especially well connected, but even lesser populated towns and hamlets will usually have direct trains into London, or at the very least into their nearest transport hubs. London is famous worldwide for its significant underground (or Tube) network, but other cities, such as Manchester, Nottingham and Birmingham are served by trams, which are an excellent option for local travellers. Wherever you choose to live, it is important to consider how you will commute from your accommodation to your new NHS hospital place of work.
Every region in the UK has its own distinct culture, traditions and dialect. Some places even have their own language, such as in Wales as well as in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The local culture is important to consider when choosing where to live in the UK as an international doctor. That’s why Remedium introduced our pioneering, CPD-accredited communications course. This programme supports doctors and healthcare professionals from overseas to acclimatise to the UK cultural and to working life in the NHS.
Places of worship
Many of our international doctors have a strong faith and are particularly concerned that they will be able to access relevant places of worship and continuing practising their religion according to their personal beliefs. Fortunately, Britain is a country which prides itself on its multiculturalism and is welcoming to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Our towns and cities are home to people from all over the world and Remedium’s onboarding team will be able to ensure that you find the local places of worship relevant to you, ensuring that you can continue to connect with your faith and your community in your new home. If you are offered a job through Remedium, you will be given access to Red Carpet, our innovative digital relocation platform, which (among many other things) will help you to locate your local places of worship.
Opportunities to progress your career
There is a shortage of doctors all over the UK, but in some areas this shortage is more prevalent that in others. Working in such an area has both benefits and limitations for any aspiring UK doctor. On the one hand, a shortage of doctors means that there is ample opportunity to progress up the ranks of the hospital, which means more responsibility and an increase in salary. However, you may find that you are working especially hard to help recruit more doctors and will need to manage your time effectively to ensure you do not become overloaded.
Remedium can advise you on the best UK locations to work as a doctor
There is much to consider when making the move to the UK. Some of our international doctors already have friends and family living in a particular town or city, and so they already have a strong idea of where they would like to work. Others, however, have no previous connection with or strong knowledge of the UK and these doctors can struggle which location will offer them the best quality of life according to their specific needs.
Whether you already know exactly where you want to live, or haven’t got a clue, Remedium can help and guide you with everything you need to make the move to the UK. Register your details and upload your CV today and one of our experienced recruitment team will be in touch to advise you further.