For many doctors, locum work offers a flexible and rewarding career option, but for those without experience in the National Health Service (NHS), finding locum work can be a challenge. However, with the right approach, it's possible to secure locum work without any prior NHS experience.
As a leading provider of locum doctors into healthcare trusts throughout the UK, we have placed many doctors from outside of the UK with our clients, and know what good looks like. If you are considering relocating to the UK, take a look at our top tips on how to secure your first locum position and gain NHS work experience.
Tip 1: Prepare all necessary documentation
Before applying for locum work in the UK, take the time to research the NHS and familiarise yourself with the requirements for locum work. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation such as your GMC certificate, right to work documents, medical degree and professional references.
Tip 2: Highlight your transferable skills
As a doctor with experience from outside of the UK, you may have skills and experience that can be easily transferred to the NHS. If you believe that you have any relevant skills or experience, highlight these in your CV and during job interviews to show your potential as a locum doctor. This could include experience working in a hospital setting, working with patients with complex medical conditions, and procedures in which you’re competent. Read our blog for further support and guidance on creating a standout CV for locum work.
Tip 3: Be flexible and open to new opportunities
Be open to new opportunities and be willing to take on locum work across various specialties or settings. Consider roles at a lower pay rate as well to increase your chances of securing work and getting initial experience within an NHS practice setting. Depending on your criteria, securing locum work can be very competitive and you want to position yourself accordingly in line with the market rates.
Many doctors also prefer to work at a lower grade for their first role in the UK. This provides them with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the NHS system and other local processes with more support and less responsibility than they would have in a more senior role. Additionally, it can be valuable to carry out a few clinical attachments which can provide insight into the system, department and team. If you are able to build a relationship with a department or team, there is a likelihood they would offer you future work once they’ve seen you in action.
Increasing your flexibility on location and travelling further afield than you would prefer will also significantly increase your chances of securing work. Some areas in the UK are highly sought after and can increase competition for the same roles. As you build your confidence and experience you can move closer to your ideal location and role with more knowledge under your belt.
Tip 4: Work with a reputable locum agency
Locum agencies can be a great resource for doctors looking for their first role in the UK. Global Medics can help match you with suitable job opportunities and offer support and guidance throughout the application process. When choosing a locum agency, look for one that specialises in your area of expertise and has a good reputation in the industry. Working with the right agency and recruitment consultant can result in a fulfilling career.
Tip 5: Network with other healthcare professionals
Networking with other healthcare professionals is a great way to gain valuable insights into the locum industry and connect with potential employers. Attend professional events, join online groups, and reach out to other locum doctors to learn about job opportunities and gain advice on how to find work as a locum doctor.
Finding locum work without prior NHS experience can be a challenge, but with the right approach it is possible to succeed in the locum industry. By networking with other healthcare professionals, working with a reputable locum agency like Global Medics, highlighting your transferable skills, being open to new opportunities, and preparing thoroughly, you will increase your chances of securing locum work and achieve success as a locum doctor in the NHS.