Life as a Flexible Healthcare Professional in the UK
19 Apr 2022 | Anne Marie Fogarty
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Even before the Coronavirus pandemic that began in 2020, it’s safe to say that our wonderful NHS here in the UK was under pressure and strain, which really came to a head a couple of years ago.
Due to issues like underfunding, a lack of government support, budget cuts, public sector cuts, declining mental health amongst staff, burnout, staffing issues, and unsafe working environments, it’s no wonder why so many people were willing to give our NHS the help it so desperately needed.
If there were any positives to be taken from the pandemic, it might be that the general public is firmly behind our NHS, and our government, after much pressure, also looks committed to doing more.
One of the great things about the UK, despite the political turmoil we’ve seen lately, is that it’s so inclusive. This is especially evident in the number of UK locums or flexible healthcare workforce we now have, who have come from overseas to seek employment and opportunities.
To help give you an insight into what life as a locum/flexible healthcare workforce from overseas is really like here in the UK, here are some facts you may find interesting.
Flexible healthcare professionals are self-employed
Despite working in healthcare settings such as NHS hospitals and GP surgeries, the flexible workforce, as far as the government is concerned, are self-employed individuals. This means that it is down to you to take care of your own tax return each year.
Work can be short or long-term – depending on what you want
The reasoning behind being part of the flexible workforce is to provide the work and/or services of another individual in the same position while providing yourself with variety, flexibility and experience. You control your hours workwise. There is great freedom and control over the contracts you choose.
With so much opportunity out there, you’ll rarely be without work
Working as an overseas locum here in the UK also means a certain degree of choice for you. There are several vacant roles and exciting positions available every day across a wide spectrum of specialties from cardiology to maternity, emergency to general practice —you won’t lack choice!
Travel will likely be a part of your life
Travelling to the UK from overseas can be the start of the travelling you get to do as a locum working in the United Kingdom.
You will probably want to move around to gain different experiences and add to your CV. Travelling around the UK can also afford you the opportunity to meet new people, experience different cities, and keep the boredom at bay!
While you can apply to local locum jobs if you don’t want to travel or if you’re unable to, being able to travel will open up more career opportunities and make it easier for you to gain employment when you’re looking for work.
You’re in control of your career
Another thing to know about becoming a locum is the fact that, as you’re self-employed, you’re in control of your career, and ultimately you call the shots.
As a locum, you can choose which positions to apply for and which ones to take on. You also get to decide which days and hours you are willing to work.
Also very beneficial is that if you do take a job that is emotionally draining, you can simply choose to walk away and seek employment elsewhere by applying for a position elsewhere.
Coming to the UK can be daunting at first. Like anything new, there is excitement merged with apprehension. You’re not quite sure what to expect. The people are different, the culture is unique to the UK, the food may be very different to your home country but people are people and medicine is medicine all across the globe. So being part of the flexible workforce allows you to dip your toes in the water and sample many different specialties, areas of the UK, and care settings before you decide to pitch yourself long-term!
If you are a healthcare worker looking to try a new experience here in the UK, we have multiple roles available now for healthcare workers across the country. Talk to one of our dedicated consultants who will openly discuss all on offer with you today!