Introduction to the UK Healthcare System


The National Health Service has existed since July 1948, with the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth. It was the first of its kind anywhere in the world and transformed the lives of millions.

Each of the present-day UK’s four health services operates independently of each other. NHS England, for instance is further separated into General Practitioner-led groups who have responsibility for commissioning local services, as well as NHS trusts who serve a geographical area. There are over 230 NHS trusts spread across NHS England the majority of whom are effectively independent legal entities.

There are also two public bodies that maintain the official registers of medical professionals within the United Kingdom; the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), for doctors and nurses & midwives respectively.

The NHS is the UK’s biggest employer with an extremely diverse and multicultural workforce of doctors and nurses from all over the world. In total, 36% of hospital-based doctors gained their primary medical qualification outside the UK, with over 10% of doctors and 7% of nurses from European countries.
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Why choose MediOpus?

MediOpus recognises that making the choice to move to a new country is big and sometimes difficult one to make, and the process for registering, applying for jobs and making local arrangements whilst overseas can be daunting.

MediOpus exists to provide personalised support from the very beginning of your journey, finding the perfect healthcare job in England, helping you navigated the complexities of registration with professional and regulatory bodies and walking you through every step of the relocation process. Even after everything is secured and you have successfully relocated, we are committed to maintaining a life-long, professional relationship including an emphasis on continuous professional development, career progression and, most importantly, a positive impact on your wellbeing.
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MediOpus Services

The services available to each applicant are tailored to your specific needs, but will generally be consist of some or all of the following areas:

  • Background checks
  • GMC or NMC Registration
  • Job searches
  • Visa applications
  • Relocation
  • Orientation
    You can find a complete breakdown of our services below or by clicking on the items on the left.

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Back ground Checks

As part of the application process, we will help guide you through an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check. This is a criminal background check and is mandatory for workers looking to find work in the UK’s healthcare system. This may require you contacting your countries respective checking service.
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Registration - Doctors

To practise medicine in the UK you need to hold registration with a licence to practise. Holding a licence allows you to, for example, prescribe medicine and treat patients. If you hold a licence you must also show the GMC your knowledge and skills are up to date through regular checks on your practice, known as revalidation.

To apply to join the UK medical register you will need to able to evidence a level of training or certification equivalent to UK medical qualifications and are fit to practise. Additionally, workers must be able to communicate effectively in English.

Please note that the GMC charges an annual £390 fee to join and remain on their register. The MediOpus team can help guide you through the process of applying to join the register

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European Nationals

Workers from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have the right to move and live freely within the European Union and European Economic Area.

Each country has it’s own regulator so you should check https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/eea-countries for full details of the proof of credentials you will need to provide.
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Other Internationals

You should first check if your qualification is accepted by the General Medical Council. Please visit https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/before-you-apply/acceptable-postgraduate-qualifications for a full list.

If this is not the case, you may need to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test (PLAB). This is a two-part test, with part 1 being a written, multiple choice exam and part 2 being a practical object structured clinical exam (OSCE). Part 1 can be taken overseas, part 2 must be taken in Manchester, England.

Please note that the GMC charges a £1070 fee for the set of PLAB tests. The MediOpus team can help guide you through the process of booking for these tests, and making your way to the Manchester testing centre

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English Language Proficiency

If you were not taught and practised solely in English, you will need to pass either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or pass the Occupational English Test (OET).

Please note that the IELTS costs approximately £200 whilst the OET costs approximately £360. The MediOpus team can help guide you through the process of deciding which test is appropriate for you, giving you access to practice papers and help you with booking for your tests.

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Registration – Nurses and Midwives

To work as a nurse or midwife in the United Kingdom you will need to join the NMC register. You will need to able to evidence a level of training or certification equivalent to UK nursing qualifications and are fit to practise. Additionally, workers must be able to communicate effectively in English.

Please note that the NMC charges a £110 registration fee, and an annual £120 fee to join and remain on their register. The MediOpus team can help guide you through the process of applying to join the register.

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European Nationals

Workers from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have the right to move and live freely within the European Union and European Economic Area.

Each country has its own regulator so you should check https://www.nmc.org.uk/registration/joining-the-register/trained-in-the-eu-or-eea/eu-registration-authorities/ for full details of the proof of credentials you will need to provide.
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Other Internationals

If this is not the case, you may need to take the NMC’s competency tests, a two-part exam the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test (PLAB). This is a two-part test, with part 1 being a computer-based test (CBT) and part 2 being a practical object structured clinical exam (OSCE). Part 1 can be taken at a Pearson VUE test centre overseas, part 2 must be taken in one of three OSCE test centres in the United Kingdom.

Please note that the NMC charges a £1122 fee for the set of compentency tests. The MediOpus team can help guide you through the process of booking for these tests, and making your way to the UK based testing centres

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English Language Proficiency

If you were not taught and practised solely in English, you will need to pass either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or pass the Occupational English Test (OET).

Please note that the IELTS costs approximately £200 whilst the OET costs approximately £360. The MediOpus team can help guide you through the process of deciding which test is appropriate for you, giving you access to practice papers and help you with booking for your tests.

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Job Searches and Interviews

As well as helping you apply for jobs advertised by NHS England, we also have relationships with NHS trusts and can provide access to posts that are not currently being advertised. This is where European and International candidates often excel. Please contact us to find out more details.

Whilst the NHS has a relatively rigid salary structure, we can also help negotiate some areas as part of a relocation package. Examples of this could be, professional body registration fees being reimbursed for you, VISA and transfer costs.

We can also help prepare you for job interviews by providing coaching sessions and giving advice and guidance on travel plans.
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Visa Applications

If you are applying from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you will need to obtain a Tier 2 (General) Visa to travel and work in the United Kingdom. You should look to apply up to three months before you are due to start work and you should get a decision on your visa within three weeks of applying. You will need to be sponsored by your confirmed employer to apply.

Due to existing monthly limits on the number of Tier 2 Visa’s granted by the Home Office please contact the MediOpus team directly for advice and guidance. Specific jobs on the Shortage Occupation List are given preferential treatment and reduced fees.

The NHS and British Medical Association are currently lobbying to have more medical roles placed on the Shortage Occupation List due to pressures on the workforce. This has received support from several Members of Parliament.

Please note that the UK government charges a minimum of £464 for a successful application, and a scaling NHS surcharge depending on the length of the visa - £200 per year. The surcharge gives you access to free NHS treatment for the duration of your VISA.

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Relocation

When your medical council registrations are underway, you have accepted a job and have finalised appropriate Visa applications, the main remaining task to consider is that of relocation. We choose to emphasise the importance of our support for you and your family during this tricky period and have a range of services you can opt to take advantage of.
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Area Orientation & Home Finding

The area you live in can be as important to you as the home itself. MediOpus staff can help you determine which is the right area for you based on your lifestyle and needs. We can also pass on valuable local knowledge to help make the settling in process as stress-free as possible.

We can also arrange for visits ahead of time if you wish to get a better look at prospective accommodation. We would look to prepare an itinerary of around 10 suitable properties to visit during your day visit and would collect and return you directly from and to your hotel, so you never need to worry about finding your way around a strange place.
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Move Management

We can offer you a selection of specialist international moving companies who all operate under a strict code of practice from the FIDI. We can arrange for a pre-move survey and multiple quotations so that you can find the best quality and value for money for your budget. We can co-ordinate services to coincide with departure and arrival dates, and help you find short term storage options if required.
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Education Support

For applicants with children, finding the right school for each child is often a top priority. Members of our team have extensive experience in the education sector and can help you find the right placement for your child, from nursery and childcare, schools of all ages to further education options at age 16+. We will provide you with a full overview of the UK education system and detailed research on appropriate schools in your area. We will also help you with the admissions procedures and application processes of specific schools and Local Authorities. We can help you book visits with schools to coincide with any visit ahead of time if preferred.
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UK Bank Accounts & Mortgages

If you are not already a UK resident, you will likely want to apply for a UK based banking service. This can be done online if your existing bank has a relationship with a UK one. Examples of these include Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Natwest. Our finance team can help you open the accounts that best suit your needs and put you in touch with independent specialist financial advisors for more complicated cases including mortgages and home and contents insurance.
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Registering with a GP & Dentist

Anyone in the UK can register and consult with a GP without charge. We can help you find local GP and dentist surgeries and walk you through the process of applying. GPs have particular catchment areas whilst you will have more flexibility with Dentists, although not all provide NHS treatments.
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Biometric Residence Permits and National Insurance

You may have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP). You will obtain your BRP as part of the Visa application. You don’t need to apply for a National Insurance number if you already have one, or one is printed on your BRP.

If you don’t have a National Insurance number, you must apply. You can only apply for it once you’re in the UK and you have to do this over the phone.
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Phones and Utilities

When you have found a property to move into you will need to setup household utility bills. These include gas, electric, telephone, internet and water. You will also need to register to with your local authority to pay council tax and parking permits (where appropriate). You should also look to obtain a TV license. Finally, Irish or Commonwealth citizens should register to vote.

Your existing mobile phone may work on UK networks with a UK Sim card. You should check if your phone is GSM compliant as this will simply the process. You can apply online for a UK SIM or visit high street shops and can choose either a pay-as-you go or monthly contract option.

 

The MediOpus team can help you choose the right companies and organisations for all the above.
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