Top Things to Know About the UK Healthcare Industry

UK Healthcare Industry

The United Kingdom (UK) is world famous for its prestigious healthcare system, which is predominantly made up of publicly funded hospitals, but also includes a number of private non-profit and for-profit hospitals. In particular, the UK’s National Health Service is a national institution in Britain which is admired around the world for its commitment to universal healthcare and ability to provide high quality care for all citizens. Read on to learn more about how healthcare in the UK is provided and organised.

UK Universal Healthcare: The National Health Service

The United Kingdom (UK) has a publicly funded healthcare system known as the National Health System (NHS) which was founded in 1946. It was built with the objective of providing the citizens of the UK with a strong and reliable healthcare system accessible to everyone, regardless of their economic circumstances. To this day, the NHS remains free for all British Citizens to use at the point of service and the vast majority of British healthcare is delivered through this mechanism.

The NHS is different to the other healthcare systems around the world as it is funded through taxes rather than health insurance. Each region of the UK has its own NHS body i.e. NHS England, NHS Scotland, NHS Wales and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland to provide public health benefits to all UK residents. The UK also has a private healthcare sector which is relatively smaller than the public sector.

The NHS employs over 1.5 million people in 350 different roles. Currently there are 223 trusts in the UK, with each trust running multiple hospitals. The largest NHS Trust is Barts Health. The NHS has undergone various structural changes over the years, with many charities and private companies becoming more involved in running it. Due to its sheer size and political importance, the system is constantly undergoing change and growth and is broken down into sub-organisations and structures.

Private healthcare in the UK

The number of people who opt for private healthcare in the UK are lesser in comparison with other European countries. Private healthcare may cost more but it provides quick access to specialists with little to no waiting period.

With private healthcare, patients can access healthcare quicker and will benefit from private suite rooms. One can also opt for private healthcare should they need a specific type of treatment or surgery that may have a long waiting time in the NHS.

Doctors and Specialists in the UK

General Practitioners

A local general practitioner is the first point of contact for most medical illnesses, assessments, and queries, except in the case of emergencies. General practitioners operate over the week between Monday-Friday and offer walk-in services usually for a few hours in the morning while some also operate by appointment. They also provide referral letters in case someone wants to consult with a specialist.

Accident and Emergency

An Accident and emergency doctor is always prepared for the unexpected. This involves working with patients who may come in with little or no notice and have serious or life-threatening illnesses and injuries.


Anaesthetists are not only responsible for administering anaesthesia but are also equipped with skills to use complex equipment and ensure that the patients continue to breathe without any difficulty during the surgery.


Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders. These include various maladaptation’s related to mood, behaviour, cognition, and perceptions.


Pathology as we know is the study of the causes and effects of a particular disease or injury. The word pathology refers to the study of disease, incorporating a wide range of biology research fields.

The top specialities for which the NHS is recruiting for are Accident and Emergency, Medicine, Radiology, Women and Children, Theatres, Pathology, and Psychiatry

Hospitals and Healthcare Centres in the UK

There are two major types of healthcare providers in the UK – publicly funded NHS hospitals and independent private hospitals. General hospitals provide facilities like surgery, maternity services, elderly care, and outpatient services. Specialist hospitals cater to specific areas such as dermatology, orthopaedics etc.

There are 80 NHS walk-in centres which operate 365 days a year. These centres deal with a range of minor injuries & illnesses such as bruises, fractures, infections and more. You can find your local NHS walk-in centre here.

Job Categories in the NHS

With the increasing demand for healthcare, the NHS currently is hiring doctors for various roles. Click here to view the current list of vacancies we’re working on for the NHS.

Here are the 14 main job categories at the NHS:

  • Allied health professions
  • Ambulance service team
  • Dental team
  • Doctors
  • Health informatics
  • Healthcare science
  • Management
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Medical associate professions
  • Psychological professionals
  • Public health and the wider healthcare team

There are various sub sections under each category for which the NHS might have a vacancy. Based on your experience, qualifications or interests, the NHS likely has a position to suit you. Get in touch with Remedium today to find out more.

UK Healthcare Workforce Shortages

The UK healthcare industry is currently facing major healthcare staffing shortages. They have an estimated 110,000 vacancies across various health services within the NHS. Across the country posts of one in 17 doctors and one in 10 nurses remain vacant. Recruiting solely from within the UK cannot help fulfil these vacancies, which is why recruitment from other countries continues to be an integral part of the workforce supply strategy of the NHS for the next 10 years.

Requirements for a Doctor to Work in the UK

To work in the UK as a doctor you need to register with the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC is the regulatory body responsible for maintaining the official register of the medical practitioners within United Kingdom. Therefore, International Medical Graduate (IMG) doctors who are looking forward to relocating to the UK and practicing within the NHS need to first & foremost get themselves registered with the GMC. Your will need to meet the GMC’s strict qualification requirements in order to register – see our articles on postgraduate qualifications and GMC English language requirements to learn more.

Where can I find more information about jobs at the NHS?

If you’re looking to relocate to the UK to work as an international doctor, please register your details with Remedium and upload your CV today.

We are delighted to offer opportunities to international candidates to come and work in the UK. We have supported thousands of doctors like you to make the move before. Our dedicated team of onboarding experts as well as our award-winning digital relocation software, Red Carpet, will help relieve the administrative burden. We can help you apply for your visa, secure flights, accommodation, set up a bank account, and much, much more.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Register with Remedium today

Upload your details and CV so we can match you with the perfect role.