As British health secretary Jeremy Hunt this week stated that he wanted to reduce the number of foreign medics working in the National Health Service (NHS), there has never been a better time to escape from the system and start your career overseas - somewhere where you would feel truly valued, somewhere where you would be able to get back to enjoying your career again.
Here at Odyssey Recruitment we came up with 5 reasons why now is the perfect time to take your skills abroad and escape from the struggling NHS.
Jeremy Hunt’s Attitude to Foreign Medics
For many doctors - especially those who moved to work in Britain - the patronising words of Jeremy Hunt that foreign doctors in the system “do a fantastic job”, before stating that he hopes to make the NHS self sufficient in England by 2025, and adding “is it right to import doctors from poorer countries that need them whilst turning away bright home graduates desperate to study medicine” will have been the final straw.
This is far from the first time that Hunt has appeared to devalue the crucial role played by overseas medics in the already chronically understaffed NHS.
36% of doctors and 23% of GPs currently working within the NHS gained their qualifications overseas, this makes Hunt’s plans for an extra 1500 British born and trained medics start to look, at very, very best, optimistic.
As Hunt continued to underestimate the crucial role played by expat doctors in Britain a move overseas, to a country where your skills will be appreciated and helped to flourish, surely must start to look appealing. Singapore, for example, has some of the highest healthcare spending in the world, and medics are given opportunities aplenty to further develop their skills within the country.
It’s a world apart from the constant vilification endured by first, junior doctors and now expat medics at the hands of Hunt and the Government.
Understaffed and Overworked
In May of this year the rate of the NHS’ deficit was revealed - and once again it had risen. The main reason for this was given as understaffing, which forces more and more NHS trusts in to bringing in ‘Locum’ doctors on short term deals.
According to statistics published by ‘The Guardian’, Barts NHS trust in London - the largest in the UK - spent around £80m on agency staff in 2015. It is estimated that around £30m of that was profit for the agencies.
Despite this, the number of doctors, surgeons and specialists working within the health service is continuing to drop. The Government’s own statistics were even incorrect - with almost 70,000 fewer people than they thought employed by the system.
The end result of this, as you will all know, is simple. Medics become overworked, stressed and begin to develop an unhealthy work/life balance. Understaffing is an issue that doesn’t look as if it will disappear anytime soon so, if you are feeling overworked and beginning to enjoy your job far less than you did in your early career, then now could be the perfect time to take your skills overseas.
A move ‘down under’ to Australia or New Zealand is ideal for anybody who is feeling burnt out by the National Health Service’s ever increasing workload and ever decreasing workforce.
The lifestyle in these countries is amongst the most relaxed on earth, and employers focus on ensuring that a good work/life balance is achieved by all employees. This allows you to get back to spending quality time with your patients when you are at work, and with family and friends during your free time exploring some of the world’s most stunning scenery.
Undervalued in the NHS
Medics in the NHS are increasingly undervalued both financially and in terms of the way in which they are portrayed to the general public.
The recent Junior doctors scandal acted to highlight the contempt in which some government ministers hold medical professionals in. Party politics has played a major role in devaluing the public’s image of the NHS and the thousands of medics that the service employs.
It’s not fair, especially given the major issues around understaffing and overworking which currently blight the service, yet go unnoticed by many outsiders.
On top of the understaffing issues the NHS is currently losing money at one of the worst rates in its history. This leads to lower wages for medics who have dedicated their whole life to the profession, whilst bloated structures further prevent funding from being directed towards the areas where it is really needed.
A move to the Middle East is perfect for anyone feeling as if their value in the NHS has been degraded. Not only are the wages in the region extremely generous - and tax free - doctor’s roles within the country are truly appreciated and they are respected and treated with the respect they deserve by the general public and government alike. As well as this funding (for both the public and private sectors) is generous, allowing you to provide support to people that many other systems simply couldn’t afford.
Even more cutbacks
The NHS in England has been tasked to find £22bn in so called ‘efficiency savings’ by the end of 2021. That’s £20,000,000,000 worth of savings, with draft plans showing cuts in the number of available beds; ward, GP and A&E facility closures and even hospitals being closed down or merged.
Over the last few years the NHS has been going through the longest period of austerity in its history. This has left it struggling to cope with the increasing demands of an ageing population - where the average age is above 40 for the first time in history - with further cutbacks looking as if they will damage the service even more.
Cutbacks are also forcing staff out of jobs, further increasing the workload for the already stretched employees and leaving many medics concerned about a lack of job security.
As cuts continue to savage the NHS a move to a far more adequately funded, staffed and secure system overseas can help you to get the enjoyment back in your career - and end any worries about how the latest round of cuts will affect your working life.
More and more people are realising and making the move
It’s no surprise given the above factors that the number of medical professionals escaping from the NHS is rising almost on a daily basis. In February when health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, unveiled his plans to force junior doctors to sign up to a contract for his ‘7 day NHS’ proposals, the number of doctors applying for a ‘certificate of good standing’ - a necessary requirement awarded by the GMC for anyone looking to practice overseas - increased by over 1000%!
As well as this, figures published earlier this month by the BMA showed that over 40% of NHS doctors plan to start working overseas - with Australia, New Zealand and Canada amongst the most popular locations for these doctors to move to.
In order to beat the crowd in an already competitive market then speed can be the key. The sooner you make the move the better your chances are of attaining the job of your dreams.
Western qualified doctors - especially British qualified - are sought after worldwide and, with the NHS looking as if it will continue its painful struggle for the foreseeable future - committing to a move early could put your career in a very strong position for years to come.
At Odyssey Recruitment we pride ourselves on providing our clients with a personal touch that other recruitment companies simply don’t have. We have an unrivalled network of contacts in the Middle East, Canada, Singapore and Australasia, and have the inside knowledge on what life is really like for medical professionals in these countries.
For more information on a move register on our website https://www.odysseyrecruitment.com/