A Guide to Self-Isolating When You Travel to the UK as a Doctor

A Guide to Self Isolating When You travel to the UK as a doctor ID Medical Blog

Written by ID Medical


Relocating to the UK during a global pandemic may feel slightly overwhelming. However, with new airport processes and approaches to safety – your anxieties may be put at ease.

When you do travel to the UK, depending on where you travel from you may be asked to self-isolate. With the rules constantly changing and varying for different people… Here is our guide on everything you need to know about quarantine and what to do when self-isolating over the mandatory two-week period…

Self-Isolating FAQ’s…

Who is required to self-isolate?

The UK Government has set out a list of countries whose travellers are not required to isolate. So, if your country of travel is not stated on the exemption list, then you will be required to self-isolate once you reach the UK.

Why do I have to self-isolate?

If you have potentially contracted Covid 19, then the science reveals that it takes up to 14 days for symptoms to appear. By self-isolating, you can reduce the chances of unknowingly passing on the virus before you show symptoms. It will also reduce the chances of a second wave in the UK and most importantly, help to protect your patients, friendly, family and wider community from contracting Covid 19.

What should I do if I feel ill whilst travelling to the UK?

If you develop Covid 19 symptoms whilst physically travelling to the UK, then it’s absolutely essential that you contact your travel providers – including your plane, boat, train, bus or taxi operators. They will then let their passengers and staff know they may have come into contact with a person potentially infected with Covid 19, and as a precaution, they will also be required to self-isolate. It’s worth noting that this information would remain confidential and your name would not be disclosed to the people who’ve potentially been affected.

If you do have confirmed Covid 19 symptoms, you’re not permitted to travel via public transport and you’re required to make other arrangements. When you are in public places, you should wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth and keep a social distance of a minimum of 2 metres from other people.

Where am I allowed to self-isolate?

When you arrive in the UK, you’ll be asked to write down the address that you’ll be self-isolating at on your public health passenger locator form. You’re permitted to self-isolate at:

  • Your rented accommodation
  • A friend’s house
  • A family member’s house
  • A hotel or any other temporary accommodation such as an Air B n B
Join our Facebook Group – IMGS: The UK Doctors Network

We post daily blog posts, updates and insights into how to successfully relocate to the UK and join the NHS! What’s more is you can ask us your relocation questions and get specialist advice and guidance! Just hit the ‘learn more’ button below!

Learn more about our new Facebook Group - hit this button

Can ID Medical help me source accommodation and food?


Our doctors’ needs are paramount to ID Medical which is why we have organised the following…

  1. We work closely with our NHS trusts to ensure that our doctors can safely stay in either hospital accommodation or external accommodation for the two-week isolation period. This accommodation will be local to your trust and so, when your quarantine period is over you can reach your workplace with ease and start searching for something more permanent.
  2. As you’re new to the UK, you may not be familiar with what grocery stores are available, how and when you can order – which is why we can arrange for someone to meet you on arrival to assist you with obtaining the items you require for the two-weeks. This includes groceries, personal care products and home essentials to anything you may need.

ID Medical and the rest of the UK is truly grateful for you choosing the NHS and so, rest assured we will do everything in our power to make this process as easy as possible.

Can I see anyone whilst I am self-isolating?

No. Under no circumstances should you socialise unless someone is providing you with:

  • Emergency assistance
  • Care assistance
  • Medical assistance
  • Veterinary services
  • Receiving a public service

You’re forbidden from going to your workplace, a school or any other public areas. You should not go food shopping and if you do require additional groceries, contact us and we can organise someone to arrange this

The UK rules permit you to only exercise within your home or garden, and unfortunately, if you have any dogs relocating with you, you’ll not be allowed to take them on a walk. So, you’ll need to ask a friend, family member or hire a dog walker if that’s not available to you.

Who do I need to self-isolate with?

You’re required to self-isolate with everyone you travelled with.

However, if you’re staying with friends or family during your quarantine period (and they did not travel with you) then they’re not required to self-isolate.

Alternatively, if you are staying in a hotel or guest house whilst quarantining, you must make sure that you stay away from other guests and do not enter any shared areas such as bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, saunas, steam rooms or shared facilities.

If there are instances where you need to leave your room to receive your food shop delivery, wear a mask and stay 2 metres apart from people at all times.

What can I do whilst I’m self-isolating?

As with anything there is always a silver lining. In our eyes, you should use this two-week period as a fantastic opportunity to get prepared for your NHS job before getting thrown into it (don’t worry there are induction periods, but the NHS is an extremely busy institution)!


For a person to thrive self-care is a necessary function but what we find hard is taking the time out to actually practice it – so, quarantine is the perfect time to do so! Self-care will improve your mental, emotional and physical health and essentially gives you an opportunity to improve the relationship with yourself.

Remember that self-care is something that you need to actively plan, it doesn’t just happen. So, once you’re in your quarantine accommodation – why not make a list of all the self-care activities you’ve always wanted to do. This could include getting enough sleep, exercising (in your house or garden!), relaxation exercises such as meditation or doing something practical such as cooking, painting or beauty treatments – the list is endless.

UK Travel Inspiration

Every human is on a journey through life and your journey has led you to the United Kingdom. As we travel we are learning, evolving, changing and improving for the better as we are exposed to new experiences and change.

The UK is a unique island with each city, town and village offering something different. Of course, it’s important for you to visit the major cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast… but there are also small little hidden gems that are an absolute must!

Smaller cities such as Bath, Oxford, Cambridge and Brighton are equally as fascinating with lots of culture to offer – and the best part? Fewer crowds but rich with history. If you’re into hiking you have plenty to choose from… From the beautiful mountains in Wales and Scotland to the rolling hills of Lancaster and Cornwall, Stonehenge to Hadrian’s Wall. Not to forget about the fascinating countryside including Pen Y Fan to the Lake District and the exquisite coastlines of Pembrokeshire to Devon…

Spend this time researching and planning! You could even get creative and scrapbook or create online mood boards with accompanying itineraries – getting you excited for your new life in the UK and helping you make the most of your annual leave.

Professional Development and NHS Career Preparation

Whilst you will be allocated an Educational Supervisor when you join your NHS trust – your quarantine period is a great time to start thinking about what you truly want from your NHS career and how you’ll get there. There are plenty of career options within the NHS, from training posts to a Locum Career – the choice is yours. Will you be obtaining a Royal College Qualification? If so, you could consider booking it and start to plan and prepare for the first exam.

Secondly, whilst you have the time why not telephone your HR Personnel to clarify the documents you need to bring on your first day and whether you can get your credentials sent to you: your hospital door pass, the hospital map, IT logins etc…


Whilst the fact that you have to quarantine may feel frustrating and you’re simply keen to get into the hospital and start after so many months… two-weeks will fly by and you need to look at this as an opportunity to put yourself first before the hard work starts. Of course, if you have any questions or queries – please email us at marketing@id-medical.com and we will be more than happy to help.

If you’re interested in how Dr Martinovic, Consultant Urologist’s experience was in relocating to the UK during the pandemic – read our Q&A blog post here!

Secure an NHS Job with ID Medical – Sign Up With Us Today!

ID Medical work with 90% of NHS trusts, helping international doctors and nurses secure their dream NHS post.

We can support with:

At ID Medical, we’ll be here to support you throughout every single step of the way.


Register with ID Medical today by hitting this button!

You May Also Like…

1 Comment

  1. Dr Amitabh Sgar

    Yes, This was helpful. Most of the top food chains like Tesco deliver groceries home. Also there are many food apps like Deliveroo , Just eat etc which deliver hot food right to your doorstep. Exercise , sleep and planning for your next step in career is a very good investment of time in self isolation.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *