Relocating to the UK to work in the NHS can seem daunting – especially for international clinicians, who may not be able to visit the areas they will be living in before moving. In this blog, we cover what life working in the NHS is like for those considering a career in Northern Ireland!
Northern Ireland is located off the coast of the UK mainland, and offers a great balance of city life and green spaces. The area is known for its beautiful landscapes, including the Giants Causeway and Lough Neagh, as well as its vibrant cities.
Working with the HSC in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland (NI), health and social care services are integrated under the umbrella of Health and Social Care (HSC). Unlike in the rest of the UK, where the NHS handles health care and local councils manage social care, in NI the HSC manages all health and social care. Much like the NHS, the HSC offers free medical services at the point of delivery. The responsibility for health and social care lies with the Department of Health. This duty is further handled by the Public health agency and various health and social care bodies, which include the five trusts based in NI.
Northern Ireland hosts a network of bustling hospitals that provide 24/7 care to its residents. Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry is the longest-standing Acute hospital in the Southern Trust, with services ranging from mental health to physiotherapy. Situated in Newry, Co Armagh, the hospital holds a significant place as an acute teaching hospital affiliated with Queen’s University Belfast Medical School. Similarly, Craigavon Area Hospital is a vital healthcare hub, serving around 240,000 people from Craigavon, Banbridge, Armagh, and Dungannon–South Tyrone.
Living in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is deemed the happiest place in the UK, according to a report from the Office for National Statistics “Personal well-being in the UK: April 2021 to March 2022“. Notably, Belfast is among the 6 UK cities picked from places around the world for a comfortable lifestyle. Other Northern Irish cities like Bally Castle, Cultra, Enniskillen, Portstewart, and Rostrevor also stand out as great places to live and work. These cities offer an exceptional way of life, friendly neighbours, easy access to local stores and services, and beautiful outdoor spaces. According to the research by The National Lottery Community Fund, Northern Ireland also prioritises community development. Its welcoming people and inclusive culture make newcomers feel welcomed and integrated quickly. Vibrant events and proactive networks create opportunities for connections rooted in shared values. This emphasis on community participation eases relocation, offering a dynamic and welcoming environment that values every individual’s contribution.
Cost of living in Northern Ireland
Property prices in Northern Ireland are considerably more affordable than in England. The UK House Price Index states that the average home in Northern Ireland costs around £176,000, a marked difference from the £316,000 average in England. Rent is also pocket-friendly, with the average monthly rent in Northern Ireland at £720, compared to England’s average of £1174. From popular areas like Belfast City to more affordable options like Dungiven, Northern Ireland offers a range of living choices to suit diverse preferences.
Travel and Commuting
Getting around Northern Ireland is easy as it has well-connected public transport and road links between towns and cities. While public transport options are fewer compared to England, efficient and frequent bus and train services cover most areas. For those living in more rural areas, driving is an efficient way to get around.
Learning and Education
Northern Ireland boasts high-performing schools with a curriculum similar to England, ensuring top-notch education for those relocating with children. Despite its smaller size, the university landscape includes esteemed institutions like Queens University Belfast and Ulster University, offering accessible education with affordable tuition fees. While sharing similarities with England and Wales, Northern Ireland’s education system has some distinct features. Compulsory education starts at age 4, a year earlier than its counterparts, and GCSE grading employs a lettering system (A*-G) compared to England/Wales’ numerical scale (9-1). Post-16 education encompasses A-levels and vocational qualifications with varying subject choices and entry requirements. Despite differences, all prioritise quality education, academic achievement, and diverse student growth opportunities.
A Vibrant Culture and Social Scene
There is a unique culture in Northern Ireland, marked by rich history and a welcoming community. Discover serene villages and explore historical landmarks that offer a great blend of tranquillity and exploration. Museums, art galleries, and cultural festivals enrich the landscape, while Belfast’s dynamic nightlife and social scene provide vibrant entertainment. Enjoy lively evenings at bars, restaurants, and clubs, and engage with festivals and social groups catering to diverse interests and ages. The annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, a national holiday, add a touch of festivity. Northern Ireland offers a myriad of experiences that embrace its cultural heritage and vibrant social atmosphere, making it an enriching destination for both work and leisure.
Relocating to Northern Ireland
For those seeking savings and a warm, culturally vibrant atmosphere, Northern Ireland is a great option. Whether you’re attracted by affordability, natural beauty, or the inviting ambience, Northern Ireland promises a fulfilling lifestyle and exciting career opportunities for healthcare professionals.
At Remedium, we’re deeply committed to addressing the UK’s healthcare staffing needs with ethical global recruitment. We stand beside you throughout your journey, supporting interview readiness and relocation. Our award-winning digital relocation platform, Red Carpet, supports the relocation process by assisting with practical tasks such as flight bookings, accommodation, banking setup, and more. If you are interested in a career in the NHS, take the first step by registering with us here!