10 tips for Indian doctors moving to the UK

Download the BMJ Guide for Indian Doctors to Working in the UK here.

More than 20,000 doctors from India are registered to work in the UK and that number is likely to increase as the NHS looks overseas to plug staff shortages over the next four years.

BMJ Careers has developed a guide for Indian doctors considering working in the UK which answers some of the most frequently asked questions, such as:
• What does the PLAB test consist of?
• How does the UK specialty training system work?
• What is it like living and working in the UK?


Here are just a few tips for those considering the move:

1. Don’t bring too many clothes from India. Wait for the sales and buy them in
the UK. They will be more suited to the weather, particularly winter
temperatures which many Indian expats struggle with when they first move.

2. Watch lots of British TV. This will give you a good insight into the lifestyles
and attitudes as well as behaviour that would be considered taboo in India
but may not be considered so in the UK. Seeing this on TV first could potentially save you embarrassment.

3. Visit public libraries, local fairs and festivals. They are a great source of free information about the local area and provide opportunities to meet local
people and join local clubs and activities.

4. Bring some food or treats from home. Taking these into work to share with
colleagues can be a great way to break the ice and for colleagues to gain a
better understanding of your cultural background.

5. Maintain contact with friends and family back home. Using skype or video
calling can be a great way to relieve homesickness and their support will be
invaluable in the first few months of living in a new country.

6. Be on time and practice saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Both are considered important in the UK.
7. Say ‘no’ if that is what you mean. Being direct is often valued in the UK and reduces the risk of misunderstandings. 

8. Prepare for accents to cause problems. The UK has a wide variety of
regional accents, some of which are very different to the traditional English
accent many Indian doctors might expect. Patients in regional and rural
areas may also struggle to understand your accent. Encourage colleagues to
correct you when you make mistakes and practice using simple, non-medical
language to help improve communication.

9. Take up a hobby or interest outside of work. It will help you destress and
make friends outside of the workplace.

10. Explore the UK as much as you can. You may come across other areas you would prefer to live and work in.

For more information on living and working in the UK download the BMJ Careers guide for Indian doctors.

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