2017 International Locations for Medical Professionals

2017 International Locations for Medical Professionals

31st Dec 2016

Around the world everyone will have a different range of hopes and aspirations for 2017. As a medic looking to start your career overseas - or as a more experienced expat medic simply looking for a change of scenery - the world has plenty to offer.


Every country is different, some will be perfect for some doctors and completely unsuitable for others. What we do know however is that, no matter what the reasons for your move are, we’ll have contacts in a location that could be just perfect for you.


In the first of a two part special feature we’ll give you four reasons why 2017 is the perfect time to make a move, and attempt to help you decide which location would best suit your needs.


1 - The NHS Will Continue to Struggle


This is one of the most common reasons for many of our candidates looking at moving their career overseas. Life in the NHS is already tough, with long working hours, poor conditions, over complicated bureaucracy and a lack of appreciation for the life changing work of medics already leading many to seek pastures new.


If you felt as if things were bad now, then the £22bn of ‘efficiency savings’ scheduled to be brought in by 2021 are only set to make things more difficult. These will manifest themselves in ward and hospital closures, cuts in the number of beds available and the closure of GP and A&E facilities nationwide.


With more and more highly skilled, Western qualified medics leaving the NHS for a more rewarding and enjoyable career overseas, now could be the perfect time to make a move. A move that will allow you to get back to enjoying your career in an environment where your skills are valued.


2 - The United Arab Emirates, The World’s New Healthcare Capital


If you are tired of being taken for granted, working long hours in outdated facilities and have lost your love for your career then a move to the UAE could change that. The country has recently became the world’s main hub for medical tourism, and offers world class facilities as well as generous, tax free, salaries.


Healthcare in the country is split into public and private sectors, as in most other locations, with both sectors offering an extremely high standard of care. The majority of expats will use private clinics, with the public hospitals being more commonly used by natives.


The UAE’s most well known area for healthcare is the world renowned Dubai Healthcare City, a healthcare ‘free-economic zone’ located near Dubai International Airport. The healthcare city is home to over 110 clinics and hospitals specialising in everything from dermatology, to neurology and dentistry. Construction on the second phase of the development is now underway, with an impressive growth in patient numbers and medical tourists driving the Emirates’ healthcare facilities forward even further.


On a personal level life in the UAE has plenty to offer. The country is one of the most diverse in the world, with modern cutting-edge architecture sitting side by side with historic religious buildings. It boasts some of the world’s biggest malls, year round sunshine and plenty of modern facilities to keep anyone entertained.


With plenty of job opportunities, an ever growing medical tourism market, some of the world’s best facilities, world leading salaries and plenty to see and do the UAE is perfect for someone looking for a big change to life in the UK, whilst keeping some aspects of Western culture.


3 - Saudi Arabia, A Unique Kingdom


If you want a more traditional Middle Eastern experience then a move to Saudi Arabia could be ideal for you. Like the UAE the country offers high, tax free salaries, high class facilities and year round sunshine - however unlike the Emirates it still remains staunchly religious, making it a fascinating and unique Kingdom.


Moving to Saudi Arabia certainly isn’t for everyone. Life outwith the compounds where expats commonly reside can be restrictive, with dress codes and gender segregation still enforced by the country’s religious Police. If you elect to immerse yourself in the country’s culture however it can become a truly life changing place to call home.


The majority of hospitals are operated by the Ministry of Health. It runs 220 throughout the country as well as over 1900 healthcare centres. Care is provided free of charge at the point of need for citizens, and this covers everything from GP appointments to specialist, complex surgery.

There are obviously a few notable differences, mainly who the MOH care for. The Ministry of Health has 3 sub departments who care for separate groups of the population, running separate hospitals, clinics and health centres. These are MODA, MOI and SANG hospitals.

MODA hospitals care for those in the Ministry of Defence and Aviation, MOI for those employed in the interior ministry and SANG facilities are for those in the Saudi National Guard.

The 3 main offshoots from the MOH are joined by a few autonomous government agencies which deliver healthcare to various other groups in Saudi society - including students and people with severe learning disabilities.

Ministry of Health facilities are well funded, and in 2016 received SR104bn, the pressure that the system could potentially find itself under from the large immigrant community is lifted by an increasingly large private sector.

Currently the private system runs 127 hospitals, and hundreds more clinics and centres. Job opportunities within the private sector are becoming more widespread but remain hugely sought after due to higher pay, despite often offering less incentives than government facilities.

Saudi Arabia’s healthcare system has been improving and expanding at as fast a rate as the country has developed. The life expectancy currently sits at 76 years old, an enormous improvement on the 45 year average it sat at just 50 years ago.

Furthermore the infant mortality rate in the country is lower than in the illustrious healthcare capital of the UAE, and it only looks as if it will continue dropping.

Saudi Arabia is currently investing heavily in its healthcare market in order to meet the goals set out in the country’s ‘Vision 2030’. These plans were created with the aim of reducing the number of Saudis going to other Gulf states as medical tourists for healthcare, whilst making the country itself become a medical tourism hub in order to loosen the reliance on oil.


The ‘Desert Kingdom’ of Saudi Arabia is not for everyone, and you should ensure that you research it fully before committing to a move, however for someone looking for a dramatic change from the rest of the world it represents the ideal location in which to move to.


4 - Canada, The World’s Most Friendly Country?


If Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates a change in lifestyle that you don’t think would suit you, then Canada is more likely to be appealing.


For almost 200 years people from Britain and Western Europe have flocked to Canada in search of a better life. In those days they would’ve been working to build the Canada we know nowadays - a country that has almost all the home comforts of life in Britain, but with a more organised health service, friendlier population and a more relaxing lifestyle.


The Canadian healthcare system - known as Medicare - is somewhat similar to Britain’s NHS. It is partially funded by central government, and through a levy placed on employees wages - similar to National Insurance contributions - unlike the UK however further funding comes from the federal government to top up the funds.

Federal government funding, along with charges for prescriptions and long term healthcare, ensures that the system doesn’t go underfunded, even with a lower contribution from workers.

This isn’t the only way in which the system differs from the UK model. All of the healthcare providers in Canada are private, and doctors claim directly to the insurer (or government in most cases) for the funding of the treatment.

The private nature of the clinics and hospitals in the country also means that medics pay is not decided on a countrywide basis as it is within the NHS, but on a more local level. This should ensure that the harder you work the more income you generate for yourself.

Smart funding and administrative work ensures that the Canadian healthcare system is one of the best managed financially in the world. Little money is spent on advertising the system and the payments made by patients for prescriptions and other services are re-invested in the system to ensure it doesn’t go short of funding.

Further to this the Canadian health system is far more successful than its more heavily funded American equivalent. The Canadian Government spends roughly 10.8% of the country’s total GDP on healthcare, whereas in America this figure is 17.1%. The lower infant mortality rate (5/1000, compared with 6.1/1000) in Canada along with the longer life expectancy (81.24, compared with 78.74) is testament to the system’s success.

Canada itself is a vast country, with beautiful scenery and some truly great cities - however the travelling does take some getting used to! Ottawa, the capital, is ranked as one of the most sought after places in the world in which to live, whilst both Toronto and Montreal are some of the planet’s ‘must visit’ locations.


Life in Canada can be a nice compromise between life in the UK, and a more drastic move to the Middle East. The language is English, and the impact of the early European settlers in the country remains obvious. For a life changing move, without much culture shock Canada could be the ideal location to call home.


Keep an eye on the ‘blogs’ section of our website for part two which will be online very soon. If this has been enough to convince you into making a move register on our website for job alerts - and make 2017 the year in which you finally made your dream move a reality.


Part 2

Around the world everyone will have a different range of hopes and ambitions for 2017. As a medic looking to start your career overseas - or as a more experienced expat medic simply looking for a change of scenery - the world has plenty to offer.

Every country is different, some will be perfect for some doctors and completely unsuitable for others. What we do know however is that, no matter what the reasons for your move are, we’ll have contacts in a location that could be just perfect for you.

In the second part of this special feature we’ll give you four reasons why 2017 is the perfect time to make a move, and attempt to help you decide which location would best suit your needs.

5 - Singapore, The World’s Most Advanced Country


Few locations can boast an infrastructure as modern as the world’s only island city state. Singapore is a true modern wonder, and its healthcare system is every bit as remarkable.


As with all modern countries the system is split into public and private sectors, but that is where the similarities end. Patients are free to choose the providers they use within the public and private systems, and are also allowed visit any clinic or hospital, public or privately owned, and ask for a consultation.

This isn’t the biggest difference however, that is in the funding of the care that the patients receive. Unlike many other countries no medical service is provided in Singapore free of charge. A nationalised health insurance scheme called ‘Medisave’ is operated and, under this, employees contribute between 8 and 10% of their salary every month to their account. The savings accumulated in this account can then be used to pay for treatment for the employee and their immediate family.

Patients care is subsidised by the government, but this subsidy is means tested depending on the wealth of the individual. The figure rises from a 50% subsidy for citizens (40% for permanent residents) to 80% (or 70% for permanent residents). Non permanent residents need private insurance and cover, as they don’t receive any subsidy. Often this is provided by an expat’s employers.

This system should ensure that healthcare in the country is never underfunded, but also that everyone has access to services within their financial reach. Whilst evidently different to almost anywhere else in the world, it is hugely effective.

According to Bloomberg it is the world’s most efficient healthcare system, and it is renowned worldwide as one of the most successful.

The state system is used by approximately 70% of the native population, whilst the continually growing private sector cares for the majority of expats, along with natives who have private health insurance, or those who can afford to pay for the treatment.


Singapore is one of the world’s most technologically advanced locations and, as you would expect, the country is home to some of the most advanced medical facilities on the planet. This, along with the fiercely competitive job market, makes it ideal for a medic looking to enhance their skills in a challenging and stimulating environment.


Aside from the workplace the country can be a great location to call home. It’s small size and advanced public transport system makes travelling easy, whilst the standard of living is extremely high and there are plenty of fascinating buildings, museums and natural attractions to discover.


If you are looking for a move which will boost your career, whilst allowing you to experience a new and unique way of life then Singapore can be the ideal location in which to work.


6 - Australia & New Zealand, A New Lifestyle ‘Down Under’


By far one of the most popular moves made by expat medics is one ‘down under’ to either Australia or New Zealand. Both countries have plenty of differences, however the world renowned relaxed lifestyle, beautiful scenery and well organised healthcare sectors are three crucial factors which they all share.


The healthcare system in Australia is split into public and private facilities - just as it is in the United Kingdom. The public system is funded by a combination of the government  - who dedicate 9.4% of the country's total GDP to funding it (a figure fractionally greater than the that of the UK) - and the people of the country, who contribute through a 2% levy known as ‘Medisave’ on their income.

This combination ensures that the publically funded healthcare system in Australia is financially secure. Incentives are also in place to encourage the use of the private system and ensure that the state does not find its system overrun and underfunded.

Perhaps the most notable of these incentives is the Private Health Insurance Rebate. Under this scheme ‘Medicare’ make a contribution towards your healthcare costs based on your earnings and age. The percentage increases as you get older, and decreases as you earn more ensuring that it helps out those who are most in need.

PHIB allows the healthcare system to focus more on the quality of care it provides as opposed to the quantity of patients who pass through the doors. It ensures that, unlike the NHS, the state system is not overworked and this leads to a far less stressful working environment for medics.

In New Zealand meanwhile the public system is either free or heavily subsidised for the country’s citizens at the point of need, and this is paid for partially by an innovative scheme called ‘The Accident Compensation Corporation’ (the ACC).

The ACC scheme covers the cost of treatment for cases which are deemed to be as a result of an accident, such as injuries sustained playing sport or in a car crash. The funding is received from levies which are placed on employers, employees and even vehicle registrations.

Non accidental injuries and illnesses for which the patient requires treatment is provided free of charge - assuming that the patient has been referred by a GP or family doctor. Whilst this secondary treatment is free, the initial visit to the GP will cost between $45NZD and $60NZD (around £26 - £34).

Both countries pride themselves on achieving a healthy work/life balance for their employees, meaning that working hours are far shorter than they are in Europe. Further to this leave to attend conferences is often generous, as too are holiday entitlements allowing you to learn new skills - or just enjoy life in two of the world’s most beautiful countries.


If life in the NHS is becoming too stressful and you would like a more relaxed way of living  - without a massive deal of culture shock - then a move ‘down under’ would be perfect for 2017.


7 - Bahrain, The Middle East’s Hidden Gem


The comparatively tiny Kingdom of Bahrain sits off the coast of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with the country having plenty to offer expats looking for Middle Eastern salaries and a more relaxed, Western way of living.


Akin to neighbouring Dubai, it is fast becoming a health tourism hotspot.

As with almost every system worldwide healthcare in Bahrain is split into private and public sectors. Both sectors are considerably smaller than other gulf nations with just 4 state and 14 private hospitals in the country, although these are supplemented by many smaller clinics and surgeries.

The size of the country is the main reason for the low number of hospitals. Bahrain is just 715km2 making it around half the size of the Faroe Islands, and a similar size to Singapore and Micronesia.

Bahrain is not as densely populated as Singapore however, with a population of just 1.3 million. This allows the healthcare system to focus on providing a high quality of service to residents, expats and tourists within the country.

Recent statistics show that the healthcare system - which is one of the best funded per capita in the Gulf region - is enjoying a great deal of success. Bahrain boasts one of the healthiest populations on earth, and (in a break from the norm in the region) the country only appears to be getting healthier.

Life as a medic within the Bahraini healthcare system is far removed from the lifestyle endured by many working in the NHS. Akin to the National Health Service the state system is free at the point of need for Bahraini nationals, unlike in Britain however these people only make up around 46% of the total population. This means that the healthcare system in the country is never stretched beyond its means.

Funding for the system is also generous, far more so than in most European countries. This ensures that hospitals are not understaffed, doctors and specialists aren’t overworked and a healthy work/life balance is achieved.

Further to this the Bahraini lifestyle is every bit as relaxing as it is in Australia and New Zealand. The country is widely recognised as one of the most progressive and liberal in the Gulf, whilst the Bahraini people are renowned for their friendly - islander like - mentality.


Bahrain can be an ideal entry point into the Middle East. The country is not as hectic as the United Arab Emirates, nor as religiously conservative as Saudi Arabia, instead it provides a pleasant middle ground between the Arab world and Europe.


 8 - We’re Here To Help You Along The Way


We know that the prospect of taking your career overseas can be a daunting one for many people, which is why we are here to help at every step of your journey.


In little over a decade we have grown into one of the industry’s most trusted recruitment companies. We aim to stand out from the crowd by providing a service which is professional, knowledgeable, punctual and, above all else, personal. We want to get to know our clients, we want to discover what they really want from their careers and we want to ensure we can help them with, what for many people is, the biggest decision of their life.

Our team has visited many of the facilities we deal with to make sure that they are of a high standard. We have an unrivaled network of contacts - across all specialities - throughout the world who keep in touch with us and let us know what the healthcare market is like throughout each continent.

The business is based on five key values. Integrity, expertise, professionalism, consistency and ambition. These five factors are integral to everything we do.

With offices in London and Glasgow, and access to the latest online video interviewing software, we meet our candidates face to face in order to build up a real bond of trust between both parties. It’s recruitement, personalised.

On behalf of all at Odyssey Recruitment I’d like to wish all our candidates, clients and potential candidates of the future all the very best for 2017. 


Currently there are no comments. Be the first to post one!

Post Comment