You’ve passed your interview, packed up your things, boarded your flight and now you’ve landed in the UK ready to start working as an international doctor in the NHS. Congratulations!
At Remedium, we’ve supported thousands of doctors like you to make the move to the UK from over 40 countries around the world. In this handy guide, we’ve collated our top tips for international doctors who have recently arrived in the UK and are looking to get off to a head start.
Plan ahead before you leave your home country to become an international NHS doctor
Moving to a new country is a massive undertaking and a huge amount of planning must go into the process in order to ensure a successful move. If you’re working with Remedium, you’ll have already received support with the administrative aspects of the move, such as securing your UK visa and COS. However, we can’t pack your suitcase for you! Make sure you leave for the airport with plenty of time and ensure you have all your documentation and passport easily accessible ready for immigration.
Things to consider as an international NHS doctor before you leave home
Organise your airport transfer before you leave
You will need to ensure that you have a taxi or travel arrangements booked for when you arrive in the UK as you might be flying into an airport which is far from your accommodation. Your Remedium onboarding executive can help you to find reputable taxi operators if required.
Plan your finances ahead of time to set yourself for success as an international NHS doctor
Please consider how will you support yourself financially upon arrival as you may not yet have access to a UK bank account (more on this later!). You will want to carry substantial cash or an international credit/forex card to help you with your day-to-day spending when you first arrive in the UK.
Bring a prescription for your medications
If you are taking any medications, please take an official prescription receipt with you as evidence. Medications without prescription will be confiscated by UK immigration authorities.
Pack for the British weather
Some of our international NHS doctors come to the UK from climates very different to that of the UK, and some can be taken by surprise! Look up the local weather in your new city or town using the BBC weather website and ensure that you pack appropriate clothing.
Organise a UK mobile phone
You will need to have a mobile phone that you can use in the UK. This is important for you to stay connected and will help you with booking taxis, ordering groceries and food. You can ask for a UK sim at your nearest visa biometric appointment centre to ensure you stay connected with your loved ones. It is also possible to pay for international tariff plans from your network provider, but this is not something we recommend as it can be extremely costly.
Ensure you have somewhere to live in the UK as an international NHS doctor
The Remedium team are here to support you with accommodation for when you arrive. However, for some doctors, this will mean staying in temporary accommodation until you find your feet, with contracts ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Depending on where in the country you are now living, the best accommodation can be difficult to secure, so we advise our doctors to visit estate agents and book in viewings in for more permanent accommodation as soon as possible. In some cases you might even be eligible for an on-site hospital accommodation. To find out more, speak with your Remedium onboarding executive to understand eligibility and availability. You can also learn more about the types of accommodation available in the UK in our handy accommodation guide for NHS doctors.
International NHS doctors should make use of Red Carpet before they arrive
Red Carpet by Remedium is our award-winning digital relocation platform to which every international NHS doctor we work with is given access. You’ll already be accustomed with how to use the platform as you will have used it to organise all your relocation documentation, such as your UK Visa, COS and pre-employment documents from your new employer. However, Remedium’s Red Carpet platform is able to support all our doctors with their accommodation and banking needs and can help you navigate the rental market in the UK. So many of our international NHS doctors find this service incredibly useful and rely on our 24/7 support to help them thrive in their new home.
International NHS doctor to-do list upon arriving in the UK
You’ve arrived in your new hometown. Congratulations! This is a critical time in ensuring you set yourself up for success in your new city or town. Remedium’s onboarding team are here to support you should you need anything at all or have any questions.
Immediately switch to your UK mobile sim card
Once you arrive in the UK, you will immediately want to setup your mobile phone with a UK sim to avoid unexpected costs.
Attend your Occupational Health appointment
Once attending the OH department, you will need to visit the designated post office to collect your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) card. This is an essential document which proves your right work and rent status in the UK. You may also need to attend a GMC ID check – please speak with your Remedium onboarding executive to find out if this requirement is applicable for you.
While you wait for your OH clearance to arrive, you can use this time to finalise your permanent accommodation. Seek help from your Remedium onboarding executive and our Red Carpet service if you have any questions.
Open a UK bank account
In your first week in the UK, you must open a bank account or else you will have difficulty getting paid your NHS salary. Speak with your Remedium onboarding executive about the compliance process and the documentation you need to open an account. In some cases, Remedium can even support you to open a UK bank account from overseas. Contact your Onboarding Executive for more information.
Explore your local area
Arriving in a new city or town can be daunting for some of our international NHS doctors. Your first week, before you start your new role, is an especially important time to try and explore your local area and community. Take a walk and get to know the surrounding area, explore shops or restaurants nearby and get accustomed with local public transport. You may wish to refer to Red Carpet for support, which holds plenty of customised details about your new local area.
Be open to socialising with other international NHS doctors
Many of our doctors travel thousands of miles to work in the UK, leaving their families and support networks behind in their home countries, and we understand that you might need someone to speak to. That’s why our onboarding team are always here to support our international NHS doctors, even once they’ve started in their new role, and they can lend an understanding ear you should you need anything at all.
We encourage all our doctors to take part in social activities in their local area to help them build new networks in their new home. Often, we place multiple doctors in the same hospital or NHS Trust and we can help you meet likeminded people. If you wish to get in touch with other doctors who Remedium have supported with their journey, you can ask your onboarding executive to connect you with them. Additionally, you can also seek out social opportunities in your local area or attend activities arranged by your new hospital.
Visit the department (induction)
Once you get the clearance from the OH department, you can visit your department and introduce yourself to your colleagues. There will also be an induction process for you to complete in your initial days at the hospital – this will be designed to help you feel at home in your new place of work.
Tell us about your first day as an international NHS doctor
Our onboarding executives will be eager to hear how you are getting on in your new role! Be sure to check in with us and let us know how your first day goes.
Remedium support international NHS doctors at every step
Remedium are here at every step of the way to support our doctors with their international transition. If you’re already working with us and have any further questions about your fist week, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
If you are not yet started on your as an international NHS doctor on a journey to the UK, don’t delay! Register with us today for personalised advice on how to make the move successfully.