Working as an International Psychiatrist in the UK


Psychiatry in the NHS is a growing field, meaning there are lots of opportunities for internationally educated clinicians to make the move to the UK to work as a psychiatrist. Find out more about the day-to-day life of Psychiatrists in the NHS here!

What is the job of an international psychiatrist in the UK?

Psychiatrists in the NHS typically tend to work 40-hour weeks meaning that your work pattern will often be Monday to Friday and working 9am-5pm days – although if you are working at SHO level, you should expect to work closer to 48 hour weeks on average. There is the occasional need for ‘on call’ in Psychiatry positions, however, that is more dependent on the size of the region/population that surrounds a hospital and the current staffing levels. Typically, the 40-hour-per-week work pattern makes Psychiatry an excellent specialism if you are looking for a great work-life balance.

Depending on the sub-specialty area that you choose to work in, Psychiatrists in the NHS will either practice in a hospital setting or in the community. Community work can vary from working in care homes, schools, or even at times, an individual’s home. Work within the hospital setting is inclusive of both inpatient and outpatient services although you would rarely be asked to cover these in a combined practice. Psychiatrists in the UK are encouraged to sub-specialise in certain areas which have been listed later in this blog.

How does psychiatry in the UK differ from other countries?

Psychiatry in the UK is one of the leading healthcare systems in psychiatric care globally. The UK and the NHS values and prioritises mental health care as a major investment and acknowledges the mass demand for an organised and structured service to all individuals that may require support and assistance. For these reasons, psychiatry is currently viewed as the fastest-growing specialism in the NHS. It also has one of the largest vacancy numbers out of all specialisms, meaning that the demand for skilled/experienced international Psychiatrists has never been higher. Psychiatry departments across the NHS can be very specialised, operating a range of services across the local community as well as in clinical settings.

What qualifications are required to work as an international psychiatrist in the UK?

In order to gain GMC registration as a Psychiatrist in the UK you have two main options;


This requirement allows you to enter the NHS at a junior level and is suited for doctors looking to start at SHO (ST1-ST2grade) or, if you have 3-4 years of dedicated Registrar experience in Psychiatry then it is possible to achieve an ST3 Registrar level role. You would need to first pass an English Language exam, for example OET or IELTS, before progressing to the PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 exams. This process can take anywhere between 6-18 months depending on the time you have and the exam date availability.

Royal College Qualification

In Psychiatry, this refers to the MRCPsych exam. This exam is composed of three stages, Paper A, Paper B and then the final CASC exam. Entry to GMC registration via this route will allow you to look for more senior level roles, anything from Registrar (ST3-ST8) through to Specialty Doctor and even sometimes specialist vacancies, depending on your level of experience. You will also be required to sit an English Language exam through this route, which would need to be either the OET or the IELTS exam. This route typically will take longer and the whole process will take most doctors between 12-30 months to complete.

How do I find a job as an international psychiatrist in the UK?

Remedium work with several Mental Health Trusts across the NHS, so regardless of what type of opportunity you are looking for, Remedium will be able to support you on your journey. We work with NHS Trusts on vacancies ranging from SHO to Consultant grade and we cover all the sub-specialty focus areas within Psychiatry including the below;

  • General Adult
  • Old Age
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Addiction
  • Liaison
  • Forensic
  • Perinatal

Can Remedium help you find a job as a Psychiatrist in the NHS?

Finding an NHS psychiatrist role is easier than ever for international doctors thanks to Remedium. Our specialist recruitment team are experts in their chosen specialties, including mental health clinician recruitment, which means that once you register with us, you’ll receive tailored advice according to your job requirements and preferences. Then, once you’re ready to make the move to the UK, our experienced onboarding team will support you and your family with all the practical and administrative aspects of your relocation. We have already helped thousands of doctors and IMGs find jobs in the NHS and relocate to the UK.

Obtaining your first job in UK as a doctor can be a stressful process, however with Remedium and SWLSTG, I’ve had a brilliant experience. Being new to the system, the process makes sure you feel welcome and helps you navigate with ease. Special thanks to Ankita, Sebastian and Pranali for being so patient and guiding me throughout the process. This included arranging interviews, applying for posts and preparing for the interviews. After securing the job I was referred to the onboarding team for help with the CoS, visa, and moving process. It was a lengthy one and they helped me throughout every step. It was a truly amazing experience working with Remedium on my journey to SWLSTG.”  Dr. Rajendrane

International doctors choose Remedium because of our dedicated 24/7 support, our consultants’ in-depth knowledge of everything from visas to GMC registration, and our dedication to the experience of the doctors we place. We also help with relocation by way of our award-winning Red Carpet PlatformRegister your details with us today or contact our Divisional Manager for Mental Health on the email address below;

Looking for more info? Speak to our team

Sebastian Evans

Strategic Partnerships Director

Get in touch with Remedium today

Contact us to find out how we can support you to achieve your goals