How To Work as a Permanent Consultant in the UK – and the Benefits!

How To Work as a Permanent Consultant in the UK – and the Benefits!

Mar 22, 2023.

Are you an international doctor looking to apply for a permanent consultant role in the UK?

Moving to the UK to work as a doctor can be an amazing, life-changing experience for international doctors, and having the security of a permanent role is of huge importance to so many healthcare professionals. In this blog we’ll explore the qualifications you need to work as a permanent substantive consultant here in the UK and how you can go about choosing the right pathway for you.

Permanent consultant – requirements

To work as a doctor in the UK you will need to be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). There are various routes available for getting registered with the GMC, which include:

– A pass in PLAB

– Sponsorship with a GMC-approved sponsor

– An acceptable postgraduate qualification

You will also need to evidence your English language skills via IELTS or OET

One of the main challenges doctors face if they want to try and secure a permanent consultant position within the NHS is that they will also need to have or met eligibility to apply for GMC Specialist Registration.

Typically, international doctors use the CESR route to obtain their Specialist Registration, which is for doctors whose specialist training and qualifications or experience was obtained outside of an approved Certificate of Completion Training programme in the UK.

To apply, you will need to evidence to the GMC that your specialist training programme is of equivalence to the UK’s.

Each Royal College will assess your application against the relevant curriculum before providing a recommendation to the GMC, who will then make the final decision. Please note, if you want to secure any kind of consultant role in the UK you would be expected to have gained your Royal College membership which would allow you to follow the postgraduate qualification route to GMC Registration.

To find out the full steps, take a look here.

Alternatively, there is also the option to work as a locum consultant within the NHS as an international doctor, before you obtain your Specialist Registration. If this is the step you’d like to take, ID Medical is here to help and typically has over 250 locum consultant positions available for international doctors that can offer visa sponsorship.

Consultants and the NHS

Consultants are integral to the NHS, delivering high-quality patient care for one of the most developed and respected healthcare systems in the world. This means that, regardless of your grade or specialty, when you work for the NHS, you will be rewarded with competitive pay rates and benefits that are among the best in the world.

For an insight into those benefits, keep reading!

Annual salary and pay enhancements

Everyone who works in the NHS receives an annual salary matched to their role, with the scope to increase this yearly via additional responsibilities, training and development. You’ll also get the opportunity for pay enhancements by adding in out-of-hours working, shifts, overtime, teaching and on-calls to suit you.

enhancements by adding in out-of-hours working, shifts, overtime, teaching and on-calls to suit you.

Personal development & career progression

NHS employees have to review their goals and achievements on a regular basis and maintain a Personal Development Plan (PDP). Career planning is a must for everyone and especially so for healthcare professionals to ensure they’re keeping up to date with the latest medical advancements, news and developments.

As an NHS Consultant, you will have an annual appraisal where your skills and competencies will be reviewed. In addition, every five years, licenced doctors practicing medicine must revalidate. Revalidation will support you to develop your practice, drive clinical governance improvements and give patients confidence that you’re up to date.

NHS pension

As a permanent NHS employee, you will be entitled to the NHS Pension, which is an excellent and generous scheme that is recognised as the best in the world, both in the UK and globally.

NHS discounts

NHS employees can also take advantage of a fantastic range of discounts in shops, restaurants, hotels and other services. As an NHS employee, it is always worthwhile asking if there is an NHS discount wherever you go as you can definitely save money, especially on bigger purchases such as UK holiday breaks.

Annual leave

All permanent employees are entitled to annual leave, plus an additional 8 days of bank holidays. The amount of annual leave you will receive depends on your length of service. The longer you work in the NHS, the more annual leave you’ll get. The current entitlement is as follows:

– 0–5 years: 27 days + 8 bank holidays

– 5–10 years: 29 days + 8 bank holidays

– After 10 years: 33 days + 8 bank holidays

Sick leave pay

As a permanent NHS employee, you will also be entitled to sick leave pay. The following guide is a summary of these NHS entitlements:

– During your 1st year of service: 1 month’s full pay and 2 months’ half pay

– During the 2nd year of service: 1 month’s full pay and 2 months’ half pay

– During the 3rd year of service: 4 months’ full pay and 4 months’ half pay

– During the 4th and 5th years of service: 5 months’ full pay and 5 months’ half pay

– After completing 5 years of service: 6 months’ full pay and 6 months’ half pay

There are also rules and regulations regarding repeated periods of sickness absence that should be covered in your contract or you can request more details from your NHS employer’s HR department. For further information on sick pay, please refer to section 14 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook.

Maternity pay

As a permanent NHS employee, you will benefit from maternity pay too if you are having a baby. This is given to both full-time and part-time employees and you also have the right to take paid time off for antenatal care.

– Full pay is given for the first 8 weeks – less any Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance (including any dependents’ allowances)

– The 18 weeks after that is covered by half of full pay, plus any Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance (including any dependents’ allowances). This is given providing the total receivable does not exceed full pay

– For the 13 weeks thereafter, you will receive any Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance that you are entitled to under the statutory scheme.

At the end of your maternity leave, you can also request that your NHS employer provides flexible working arrangements. If you are the father-to-be or the partner of someone who is pregnant, including the same sex partner, you may also have the right to paternity leave.

For more information on both maternity and paternity leave, please visit the Maternity and Paternity Benefits and Leave page on the NHS website.

Parental leave

If you have children under 18 years of age, you are also entitled to up to 18 weeks of parental leave. Most of this leave is unpaid, but it is useful as you have the security of knowing you have your job to go back to. As an international healthcare professional, you may find this NHS entitlement particularly useful for settling children into a new school/helping them to adjust to a new country, etc.

We hope our blog has helped answer any questions you had on the benefits of taking a permanent NHS consultant job as an international doctor. If you need further advice, or want to see what roles are available, please get in touch. Our specialist recruitment consultants can help find the right permanent NHS role for you, with 1-2-1 relocation and job support every step of the way.