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The Complete Guide to Working in the UK for Indian Doctors

Why work in the UK?

Working in the UK is an appealing career option for many Indian doctors, just as Indian doctors are an attractive recruitment proposition for British hospitals and GP surgeries.

The reasons are cultural, historical and practical.

  • Most Indian medical schools use similar textbooks and curriculums to the UK, which means knowledge and skills are largely transferable between the two systems.
  • More than 20,000 doctors from India already practice in the NHS, providing a useful support network for new arrivals1. Their cross-cultural awareness is particularly valued by those NHS organisations serving large, multi-cultural populations.
  • The NHS is considered one of the top healthcare systems in the world2 and there is high international demand for the knowledge and skills acquired by those working in it.

There has never been a better time to consider working in the UK as a doctor. The NHS currently has more than 9,000 vacant doctor posts.

The UK government, in its workforce plan for the NHS, has admitted it is reliant on recruiting overseas doctors until 2023 at least. It has removed its Tier 2 visa cap for doctors and nurses wishing to work in the UK and there is pressure from employers to make the registration and language-testing process simpler and smoother for overseas doctors.

For doctors in India, this means enormous opportunities. Working in the NHS would provide highly desired skills, the potential to access high-quality education and training, diverse experiences and better pay.

An average doctor in India can expect between 1,200,000–2,000,000 rupees per annum, equating to approximately £13,500–£22,500.

In comparison, trainees in the UK earn between £27,000–£31,000 per annum for a 40-hour week.

Trainee specialists £37,000 to £47,000. Specialists earn between £39,000 to £73,000. Salaried GPs earn between £57,000–£87,000, although there is

no upper limit. Consultants start on £78,000 per annum, rising to as much as

£105,000. UK doctors are also paid extra for overtime worked, a 37% increase for nights worked and may receive weekend working and on-call allowances, depending on their contracts4.

The average cost of living in the UK for a family of four is about £30,000 per year, although London and south east England will be more expensive.

This level of disposable income, combined with the high conversion rate between pounds and rupees, means many doctors are able to build savings and send significant sums of money back to India.