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Information for global radiologists

In the UK, a radiologist can work in NHS as a consultant, locum consultant, Specialty & Associate Specialist (SAS) or as a specialty trainee/registrar.

The global radiologists will work at an SAS grade for 3 years on general radiology duties and branching into a subspecialty of choice.

Working as a global radiologist in the NHS through this scheme  can be a very rewarding experience  in terms of developing professional practice and  specialty within clear guidance and registration.

To join, please complete and submit the expression of interest (EOI) form to diagnosicsprogramme@hee.nhs.uk

Q. I’m ready to work abroad, what do I need to know?

Ensure you have a valid passport, language proficiency, professional registration and police clearance but the programme will provide you with direct support in achieving these. It is very important to have an idea of what you want from the experience and agree with your dependants where necessary. The next step is to join the programme by submitting an application with your subspecialty option. Once this is successful and you have been appointed into the programme, you will be matched to a suitable NHS trust who will provide you with a Certificate of sponsorship to apply for a Health and Care Workers visa to come and work in NHS for 3 years.

Q. How can I prepare for cultural differences and feelings of homesickness or loneliness?

You might experience culture shock both when you go abroad and (more unexpectedly) when you return, since being immersed in a foreign culture changes the way you view your own. We know how hard it can be to do all the tasks which are required to prepare before you travel to take up post. Before travel, the programme has a well structure in-country induction programme to orientate and acclimatise by providing resources which will help your settlement.

Working abroad offers opportunities for in-depth cross-cultural experience, personal development, expanding your knowledge of a foreign language, and preparing you for a future in a global society. The NHS Global Radiologists (Network) who are already working in NHS will be providing support that is relatable alongside suggestions that are applicable. You will automatically become a member of this network once you take up your post in the NHS.

Q. What is immigration health surcharge and will I have to pay this fee? 

Immigration health surcharge (IHS) is paid by UK visa applicants to use the NHS services during their study or work in the UK for more than 6 months. You will not need to pay this because you have been employed to work directly in NHS.

Q. What visa would I apply for to travel to UK for the programme? 

When applying for your Skilled Workers Visa (formerly known as Tier 2 visa), you will be asked if you are applying for a Health and Care Worker as part of your application - make sure you choose ‘yes’. This will also give you IHS privileges.

The new Health and Care Worker visa also supports dependents – spouse and children to travel with the applicant or later. It also gives flexibility for the dependents to apply for their visa using the same Certificate of Sponsorship and some flexibility for spouse to work.

Q. What will be the visa status for dependents? 

It will be PBS (points-based system) Dependent – Partner Visa /PBS Dependent – Child Visa. They would have to apply online and will need to attend an appointment at one of the 19 visa application centers in India whichever is most convenient to you. More information could be found on the visa type page on the gov.uk website

Q. Which English language test is the most suitable to cover the respective visa and General Medical Council (GMC) applications? 

For the Skilled Workers visa, you will need to take a test that assesses your reading, writing, speaking and listening abilities. It must be within the UK Visa’s approved test providers and approved tests e.g. International English Language Test System (IELTS) – academic version is most suitable for both visa and GMC applications. For more detail please access guidance on applying for visa approved English language tests on gov.uk

Q. If I have completed my International Language Test System (IELTS) do I need to undertake the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test? 

No, PLAB requirement has been covered in the Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR) exams.  

Q. I was not successful in FRCR 2b exam and there is a long wait for next attempt - I don't mind doing PLAB. Am I still eligible to apply for the programme? 

At this stage, the programme is targeting doctors who have passed their FRCR exams. If you feel the need, please do not hesitate to apply and your interest would be registered amidst discussions on other potential entry routes. If candidates have the FRCR (2b), they don’t need to sit the PLAB. 

Q. What if I already have a hospital of my choice? 

Please indicate this in your application form as it depends if there is availability – role and specialty. 

Q. Would there be any further training /onboarding when I start with trust? 

Trusts have local induction checklist, corporate induction and mandatory training requirements which are standard requirements for any new starter. You will have to complete these as part of your onboarding at the start of your employment. 

Q. Will I be working at the same NHS trust for the 3 consecutive years of the programme or will there be some rotations included? 

This will depend on the arrangement with the trust and availability. The scheme provides opportunity for development. Some of the trusts are collaborating to provide the training so please indicate this in your application which is a word document or in the email when returning your application. 

Q. After completing the programme will I get some Letter of Recognition or fellowship completion certificate? 

Yes, you will receive a certificate from the Global Radiologists Programme to mark your achievement. 

Q. What will happen if I want to stay and work in the UK longer than the 3 years offered. 

The programme is on an earn, learn and return model therefore there is no assurance that you would stay in UK after completion of the programme. There is no restriction either to stop you from staying in the UK thereafter provided you satisfy immigration laws. 

Q. My husband/wife is a specialist and will eventually be moving with me to the UK. Is there support for her to obtain work?  

The programme has supported Global radiologists and their families in this transition. Some trusts also do and this could be clarified during the interview stage and would depend on if they could accommodate the specialty. However, this is not a part of the central programme offer. 

Q. Would there be any option to leave the programme in case any circumstances which deem it necessary arise in the course of the 3 years? If yes, how long might be the notice period? 

Patient care is at the heart of all NHS trusts and a lot of effort is put to ensure that the workforce is at its best state to provide this. Therefore, should you opt to leave before the 3 years course of the programme there is no obligation beyond the need to work a notice period. This notice period would depend on the trust’s process and your salary band. In most circumstances 3 months’ notice is likely to be required. This information would be available once a trust has been identified for you. 

Q. Is the salary stated fixed or could it be negotiated based on an individual’s experience? 

The advertised salary has been offered from £74,280 per annum, rising to a pay award in year 3 as determined by the normal NHS Pay Review Body process in addition to all the offers in the programme brochure. Any negotiation outside these would be best having with the trust(s) you would be matched. 

Q. Will this experience be helpful towards CESR application?  

Eligibility for certificate of eligibility for specialist registration (CESR) will depend on your demonstration that your skills, knowledge and experience are equivalent to that of the relevant CCT curriculum to join the Specialist register. As per the brochure, you will have 20% of your time, with no service delivery expectations, allowing the programme to be tailored to your individual needs for learning and development. You could identify this with the trust(s) you are matched with so that the support you need for this is planned. HEE provides a good selection of training and material and the Global Radiologists will access these free of charge for example exclusive leadership training provided directly by the Lead Dean.

Q. Is the post eligible for locum jobs outside duty hours (within the trust or outside)?  

The Global Radiologists Programme will be appointed on full time basis to work an average of 40 hours a week, equivalent level to UK. There is no restriction on supplementary hours, including locum shifts, as long as it does not impact on your ability to safely work as a Global Radiologist.   

Q. Is on call commitments outside the 10 programmed activities (PA) and are they separately paid? 

The 10PA would be for direct clinical care (DCC) – departmental work in the trust(s) depending on your preference and match and SPAs would provide an opportunity to further your chosen radiological interest. All the programme standards are within the indicative offer and job plan in page 3 and 4 of the second attachment. However, these details would be subject to your specialty and the type of trust(s) offering these. This information would be clarified after your application and matched with the appropriate trust(s). 

Q. I am currently in employment in my country and would be required to give a specified notice period. Would this be a problem? 

No, please indicate this and state the reason e.g., 3-month notice period to be given to current employer. This is very important as the employing NHS trust could proactive in planning your arrival for example book your accommodation in advance.

Q. I have 2 years of experience as a consultant in my home country. Would I be able to show 5 years of experience as a consultant if I apply for the 3 years Global Radiologists Programme? 

The programme offers an equivalent level to SAS (Specialty and Associate Specialist) Doctors, mirroring the national terms and conditions for NHS doctors. Becoming a consultant or representation as a consultant in UK will depend on development and evidence of non-clinical and clinical activities to build your portfolio. The grades – consultant, locum, specialty doctor, trainee all need registration through the GMC with clear guides on transition. During the 3 years you will have professional support towards your development as per the information above and this ambition could be discussed with the trusts and our partners after matching or at interview stage. 

Dr Paramita Hota shares insight into the Global Fellows programme. Based on her own lived experience from India to starting her role at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust. 

The selection process 

I was anxious ahead of my interview but Dr Raju from Apollo Radiology International, Hyderabad, spoke to me in advance and discussed what to expect. The interview board were all professional and I was not intimidated. I may not have given all the correct responses, but I considered my performance to up to the mark.  

After a month I received my conditional offer letter and the trust name where I would be joining the programme. This is when I began my own research online to find out about Huddersfield. Unfortunately, I did not find much, but I was contacted by Dr. Nikhil Bhuskute, Clinical Director of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and the discussion was reassuring. We spoke about tentative job plans, approximate joining date, my specialist interests and how to achieve that along with, the two hospitals where I would work and transport. We also discussed the support available to successfully apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration. Following this, I made my decision and started the process to move to UK. 

Preparing for the UK 

The initial process [verify my medical degrees via Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials, clear my International English Language Testing System UK Visas and Immigration, get my good standing certificates from two medical councils] was lengthy but once these preliminary steps were finished, I applied for GMC and requested my Certificate of Sponsorship (COS). Over a four-month period, I was in regular contact with Ms Katie Dyson, from human resources mostly via email and few times over phone. She was brilliant and very helpful.  

In between, I attended a workshop conducted by Dr Raju in Hyderabad where several prospective global fellows came together. Our cohort made a WhatsApp group and we helped each other through the process. We were given a basic introduction about working life in NHS and living in the UK. Most of the talks were conducted by distinguished clinicians and radiologists with long term experience with the NHS, they had a great understanding of the culture which they shared with us.  

We also partook in video calls with Dr. Nicola Strickland, The Royal College of Radiologists, Dr. Robin Proctor from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and the GMC - all of which were stimulating and encouraging. We also watched videos from previous global fellows which gave us a taste for what was to come.  

Arriving in the UK 

I received my COS within a day of requesting and started my visa application for my husband and myself. Our visas were delivered within 10 days of taking the visa interview. We were happy to find transport waiting for us when we landed in London, it was perfectly organised, and we had a great journey to the north.   

Once we arrived, I was contacted by Dr. Shalini Nandish, Paediatric and Neuroradiology consultant whom I met with on my induction day. She introduced me to the staff in both of the hospitals I would be working at.  

I went to Manchester for my ID check and opened a bank account for my salary. I did have to call Ms Katie Dyson as there were some mistakes in relation to my address in the letter which was to be shown to the Bank Manager. This was swiftly dealt with, and the corrected letter was emailed right away. In the next week, my job plan was finalized with ample time to pursue my specialist interests.  

Where am I now 

Currently, I am doing computerised tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sessions where I am being assigned speciality interest MRI cases to report. I also take calls from the clinicians requesting CT scans to be verified. Dr Nandish has given me the opportunity to perform paediatric ultrasonography (USGs) under supervision. Any difficult or complex USGs or MRIs I request her opinion and she is always on hand to help me out. I don’t have a great deal of experience in performing paediatric fluoroscopy, so I am currently observing the procedures with the view that I will gradually perform them under supervision.  

Over time, I have got to know the other consultants in my trust, and they are all very pleasant and enthusiastic in nature. The only difficulty I have had was in finding a semi furnished apartment near to the hospital but once found, my leave was granted so I had the opportunity to move.  

To conclude 

So far, I have had a brilliant experience, with lots of help from so many people along my journey. I am enjoying my current role as a global radiologist and firmly believe this is a great opportunity for someone like me, as I can experience health care in an international setting and grow and develop my skills for the benefit of my career. I believe I have all the support I need to apply for CESR and become a consultant radiologist in the near future.  

I absolutely need to thank my family and particularly my husband and my father whose support was unfounded, and I would definitely recommend this programme to my peers.

1) Take FRCR2b exam and submit EOI to Apollo.

2) Shortlisted candidates will have an interview with a panel including the Trust, Apollo and HEE staff.

3) If successful, you will receive an offer from Apollo and notification of the next steps.

4) Once you have accepted and confirmed, the Trust will carry out their Employment checks; offer letter sent with employment details; VISA certification, relocation arrangements, onboarding: introduction, virtual meet and greet.

5) Arrive in the UK and commence post.

You can download these five steps as a PDF guide

Or you can download the full process chart