Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus

Making the decision to come to the United Kingdom

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 19 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:s253
  1. Peter Cross, freelance journalist
  1. London

Moving to another country is the sort of decision that should not be taken lightly. We suggest that you speak to someone who has migrated to the United Kingdom from your locality so you can benefit from their experiences and insights. We have made a list of questions anyone wishing to work in the United Kingdom ought to consider. There may be other questions that are specific to your circumstances. Time spent weighing up these arguments may not prevent you from making a wrong choice, nor experiencing the unexpected, but we believe that it is time well spent:

  • What do I hope to gain by working as a doctor in the United Kingdom?

  • What is the best stage of my career to work abroad?

  • What is the best time of year for me to go?

  • Who do I need to contact?

  • Are my qualifications recognised or will I have to study for additional exams before I can work?

  • What will it be like to leave family and close friends behind?

  • What will I miss about my current job and life?

  • Can I speak medical English?

  • What do I know about British culture and what will it be like living there?

  • Are there any visa requirements or restrictions?

  • Where will I live when I get there?

  • What can I do if I encounter racism?


This tips on.... is adapted from “Expectations” in chapter one of Sabina and Peter's book, Making it in British Medicine: Essential Guidance for International Doctors, which will be published by Radcliffe Medical Press in September. The retail price is £21.95, but as a special prepublication offer to Career Focus readers, you can reserve your copy now for just £19.95 + package and posting. It will be sent to you immediately on publication. Please email your name and postal details to orders{at} citing, Making it in British Medicine: Career Focus offer, in the subject line.

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