Through the Global Programmes, GE offers an educational programme for healthcare professionals from other countries who would like to spend three years in the UK on an earn, learn, and return scheme. The programmes create dynamic partnerships and build lasting relationships with global healthcare organisations and healthcare professionals alike.
The Global Radiologists Programme (GRP), as part of the wider Cancer Programme International Training scheme, is designed to support the development and learning of healthcare professionals who have experience caring for people with cancer. This programme provides a route for independently competent doctors in general duties who have worked in radiology for around 5 years and completed Diplomate of the National Board (DNB) or equivalent, and subsequently the Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists exam (FRCR), to come and work in the NHS on an 'Earn, Learn, Return' basis for a period of three years; and develop a specialist interest while delivering service work.
Watch the animation below for an overview of the programme:
Find everything you need to know about the programme including case studies and how to apply below:
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 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 within the ‘resources' section.
For NHS Trusts
This scheme is open to all NHS trusts in England who are interested in recruiting doctors from abroad to complement other efforts to meet their workforce needs.
The Clinical Director should then submit an expression of interest (EOI) on behalf of the trusts whilst creating local awareness through their local governance in preparation to recruit the Global Radiologist
The scheme can be beneficial to trusts in that it would ultimately increase capacity within struggling services. Trusts are advised to convert vacant consultant posts into SAS posts for the experienced radiologists who have passed the Royal College of Radiologists’ FRCR exams to be appointed into.
To join, please submit your expression of interest (EOI) form found in resources below to email@example.com
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.
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.
Dr Robin Proctor is the Deputy Medical Director at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, he shares his thoughts about the Global Radiologists Programme.
Our trust was involved in the pilot and we are currently hosting six radiologists who came from India, including four from the pilot. They began in post in May 2019 and to date we have had 100 percent retention.
Radiologists investigate what is going on with a patient, overseeing and interpreting X rays and scans which inform medical care. There has been a huge expansion in doing these scans because of how useful they are. CT scans and MRI scans have grown more than 10 percent a year for the last 15- 20 years and from what I have seen, the situation has doubled many times over.
We are training more radiologists in the UK but we are not training enough to keep up with the demand on the service. The annual Royal College of Radiologists workforce identified there are more than 1500 vacant posts in England. There is a temptation to keep doing what you have always done, but you must help yourself and look at other options that might help your department, your organisation and ultimately your patients.
The situation before the programme
Before we implemented the programme here at Morecambe Bay, the department was having difficulties as there were not enough staff and relationships were strained. We tried to fill gaps in the rotas with locums and short-term placements. Overall, morale was low, and we absolutely needed additional radiologists and a more stable department.
We pitched the programme to the trust executive as part of an organisational development improvement plan for the department. We modelled it and demonstrated projected cost savings compared to outsourcing or locum appointments. The overall feeling was that the programme was a more efficient way forward than our previous route of having locums who did not fit the departments ethos. Essentially, we aimed to use the programme as a steppingstone towards being more sustainable as an organisation.
Radiology is internationally competitive and the growth we have seen is common across the world. Some countries offer more and more money without making the job more attractive. Making sure trusts understand what is likely to appeal to international candidates and how well NHS experience can go down internationally can really help your case.
Established radiologists, in this case from India, can come to the UK and develop a specialist interest whilst doing service work. For those joining the programme, they benefit from a competitive salary under an earn, learn, and return scheme. 60 percent of their time will be in more general aspects of radiology principally delivering service work with 40 percent spent in their chosen radiological sub speciality doing a mixture of service work and professional development. To meet the needs of our trust and the candidates, we modelled this in job plans as 8 DCC and 2 SPA splits.
Comprehensive healthcare coverage is not the situation in India and access to specialist training is more variable. By coming through this programme global radiologists can specialise and experience the best healthcare system in the world – the NHS - which remains free at the point of care.
Over three years, global radiologists learn and develop their skills. Our experience is that as they join the programme and become engaged in the department this leads to a mutually beneficial relationship. Many have also elected to work towards CESR (Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration) but that’s optional.
The programme exists with a matching component to try and get people to where they want to be in the UK specialising in an interest that they have. Through the selection process we identify those people who have transferable skills and give them a facilitated environment that allows them opportunities for growth. India and the UK have a lot of cultural similarities and qualifications and exams follow a similar process.
The opportunity to specialise is why this is such an effective programme.
The department's skillset
We exist in an environment where the work is continually increasing and we send some work to external companies, but because of the programme we are in a more resilient position. We have fewer gaps in terms of our day to day working, how we service patient care, how we service our rota and provide on call services. We are in a much stronger position now.
We are not yet in a position where we can take all the investigations we do and report them all in house, but we are certainly reporting more studies than we would if these radiologists were not here. We need a good number of more people before we are completely self-contained but that is the aim.
Ensuring we framed the message correctly to the department was key to the success of this programme. This is a not a taught course and these are not radiologists who are just starting out. These are radiologists who have been working for a good number of years, know radiology and have several transferable skills already. They are senior people used to independent practice.
As an already diverse department, with more than nine nationalities and five religions, we welcomed the additional expertise that these radiologists brought with them.
Advice for trusts considering the programme
We were a pilot and we have learnt many lessons all of which we are happy share so it's easier for other trusts. The key relationship is between the individual appointee and the clinical lead where they are appointed. Where the relationship is strong, we know the programme works very well. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of that initial communication. The main thing to remember is that if you put time into making someone feel welcome and part of the team, you will reap the rewards after.
We joined the programme and have no regrets, ultimately it benefits the patients we serve.
Dr Nikhil Bhuskute is a Clinical Director of Radiology, responsible for training radiologists that join Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust. Below, he shares his thoughts about the Global Radiologists Programme.
This three-year programme provides a route for independently competent radiologists in general duties to work in the NHS on an 'Earn, Learn, Return' basis and develop a specialist interest while delivering service work.
The situation before the programme
My interest in the Global Radiologists Programme was driven by the fact that we needed to address manpower and shortages in the department. We have eight substantive consultants, three part time, others are locums and all, but one is due to retire in the next 10 years. I had been pushing to get oversees candidates for quite a while and the Global Radiologists Programme provided a means to invest in the future.
Candidates apply to the Royal College for the Global Radiologists Programme and interviews are conducted under the supervision of the Apollo Hospitals Group. Consultants in England and representatives from Human Resources will be on the panel, which is set by HEE, in the past interviews have been conducted in London, Delhi and Hyderabad.
Candidates will have a formal interview; at which we try to understand what their career aspirations are and what their subspecialty interests are. We also ask them about their other interests and ask if there is any part of the country, they would like to be i.e. if there are relatives or friends they would like to be placed near. Candidates are matched to roles by looking at the needs of the trusts and any considerations the candidate stated at interview. Once the matching is done, we get an email providing details of the candidates that are matched to us. It is then left to the trust to take it from there.
The candidates are supported from the very beginning, three years is a long time and uprooting the family can be quite hard. We support candidates with pastoral care, speaking with local schools where needed so that they are embedded not only in the department but also embedded into the local community and social circles.
One reason we chose to run this programme instead of an alternative is that it is futuristic. You are nurturing a candidate and training them in a way that will meet your own departmental needs as well as the candidate’s needs, and potentially creating an opportunity to appoint a consultant in the future. Trainees get structured exposure to radiology in a western country where the standards are well-defined. At the same time, the trust can build their profile both nationally and internationally.
When I was in India and looking for a fellowship overseas, there were only a handful of names that came to mind. Once you have a reputation of being open and having a good organisational culture, it will not only attract global radiologists but other overseas candidates and local candidates too. The radiology community is relatively small, and word of mouth is important.
Most importantly, it is the patients who benefit from the programme because there is a good provision of service in the department with waiting lists driven down, acute care in a timely manner and ultimately, they are not waiting long for test results and treatments. It is a scheme that helps everyone and, in my opinion, in the national interest.
The department’s skillset
Every new person that comes into the department, however junior [or senior] they are, bring something new. They will have worked in places and with a cohort of cases which others in the department may not have experienced, so you have a completely fresh set of skills coming in. When that department is short in a subspeciality area, within a short space of time, existing staff can transfer their own skills to the new trainee. So now you have two sets of hands offering those services to the patient. The candidates are already trained and all you have to do is mould them using the working ways and standards which we are used to here in the NHS. Ensuring department colleagues knew these candidates are not novices was key.
When someone comes from a different country or culture and are completely new to the Standard Operating Practices of the department, there can be nervousness. The culture we have introduced is that the first port of call is the global radiologist, and their decision is always checked by the supervising consultant. This provides reassurance for the other colleagues working in the department, whilst allowing more responsibility and decision-making opportunities for the global radiologist.
What surprised me about running the programme was that people started believing in what I was saying very quickly once it started rolling. After the first radiologist came in, when I mentioned there is another set of interviews happening [within three months], the trust wanted me to go to these ones too. The second cohort admission became a piece of cake, the trust told me to go ahead and get some more international recruits. We have one global radiologist who will be starting shortly and another three due to join in the future.
Advice for trusts considering the programme
The main dealbreaker is communication, so I pay special attention to this. The first step needs to be taken by the host trust. We are fortunate to have a very active HR team and we have enthusiastic people; the appointment letters are issued quickly after a decision. Soon after, I call the candidates and have an informal conversation and congratulate them. I ask them how they feel and where they think they are in the process. I tell them about the region and try to build friendly rapport with them so that they feel comfortable to pick up the phone and give me a ring. In the upcoming cohort there are a few women, and their families were apprehensive sending them to England. So, I offered to speak to their families so that they feel comfortable. I have also asked my wife who is a consultant in the same trust to speak to families about nurseries and schooling where needed. It just helps to put the whole family at ease.
Colleagues will eventually retire, so if we train now with the mindset that Mr X is retiring in five years, we need to identify his skillset which could disappear - so we can start training the global radiologists with those skillsets. Therefore, when the opportunity arises you have a perfect match for the perfect job, with someone who has worked in the environment for the past three years.