Young Romanian Doctor speaking about the medical training in the UK

HEKA Recruitment would like to thank Manuela for sharing her experience with our followers and wishes her all the best in her medical career. You can read her interesting article below:

“If you are someone who has recently graduated, or perhaps you are an intern or a specialist in Romania, you may have decided to apply to work as a doctor in Great Britain. Before taking such a big decision it is vital that you understand the necessary steps to be successful in such a move, particularly when researching the considerable differences between the two systems.

In Romania, the medical faculty lasts for six years and ends with presenting a thesis which then leads to a residency of 3-7 years, followed by specialisation and culminating in a consultancy post, which is considered the highest ranking in the medical profession.

In contrast, the British medical school lasts only five years and ends with an exam, known as “finals” which is the equivalent of our Bachelor of Medicine. Following this there is a two year Foundation Programme which then leads to Core Training which can last from two to three years. After this candidates must complete Specialty Training which can take five to seven years after which they can attain the Certificate of Completion of Training.

Throughout this entire period the doctor will be assigned different titles depending on their progress. In Foundation Year 1 they are called House Officers and then Senior House Officers in Foundation Year 2. They remain Senior House Officers throughout Core Training and attain the office of Registrar during Specialty training. Just as in Romania, the highest title in the medical profession is designated as Consultant.

In this article I will share with you the benefits of my experience as a Foundation Doctor working in the British National Health Service (NHS).

After graduating the Faculty of Medicine I decided to continue my training in Great Britain. The first step in this process was to register with the General Medical Council. The GMC is the equivalent of the Romanian College of Physicians and is the primary institution that grants a license to work as a medical practitioner within the territories of the United Kingdom.

The initial documents that will be requested from you are your passport and graduation diploma (you won’t need to provide the school transcript as a certified translation of the graduation diploma will do). In addition you will also need a Certificate of Good Standing which can attest that you have not been involved in any cases of malpractice. Notification of any disciplinary actions in your medical work history will not be required unless you have yet to complete your residency or have not been employed as a doctor post-graduation.

From June last year the rules were changed in the UK for all foreign nationals wishing to work in the UK and they have to prove their competency in English. To do this you will need to provide an IELTS Academic certificate with an overall score of 7.5 and a minimum of at least 7.0 in each category (comprising of listening, reading, writing and speaking). You can find further information on the GMC website.

Once you are registered and have your GMC certificate my advice is to begin looking for clinics or hospitals that offer clinical attachments and apply for those posts. A Clinical Attachment is when a doctor is assigned to a named supervisor in a clinical unit in an observatory capacity. The broad aim of this post is to give you the opportunity to observe clinical practice in the UK and learn the role of doctors and other healthcare professionals in the NHS. I personally consider this a crucial step in working in the UK regardless of the experience or status the applicant previously held in Romania. It is crucial to understand how the medical system works in the UK in order to succeed here and this can take three to six months depending on the applicant’s prior experience.

The next step after completing your clinical attachment is to apply for a place on the Foundation Programme. This comprises of 2 years of medical training in 3 specialties each year rotating every four months and covers both surgical and medical specialties. This can be a difficult system to understand and it’s important to remember that each hospital has its own rotation system. For further information on this please visit the Foundation Programme website.

In addition to receiving medical training you should also take the time to improve your overall medical experience which will strengthen your CV when you apply for prospective roles. Activities you can undertake to achieve this goal include participating in audits, submitting work for publication and attending medical courses in addition to the compulsory evaluations required of a foundation doctor. There is also an e-Portfolio that each foundation doctor must adhere to and through which their medical experience and work activity is analysed.

Some important information for fresh graduates: the GMC is now offering graduates of the Medicine Faculty in Romania the right to apply immediately for Foundation Year 2 positions, thereby negating the need to complete Foundation Year 1. However it is up to each individual to decide if they apply for either FY1 or FY2 roles dependent on their experience.

There is also a crucial difference between what is considered a “training” role, which ends with a Certificate of Completion of Training and grants the individual the title of Consultant, and that of a “non-training” role which comes under service delivery.

You will find that the NHS operates on an alert system, with the responsibilities of the young doctors periodically reviewed and the work volume is proportional to the responsibilities assigned. Senior doctors will often offer their assistance but you will still need to adapt, learn and evolve in a fast-changing environment.

I would also like to emphasise that not once have I ever felt discriminated against either by my work colleagues or any of my patients. I have found that if you have an honest approach, the determination and ability to work hard and the desire to evolve then you will be able to survive and thrive in this system just as I have.

Finally – good luck to you all! Be original, get inspired and create your own story 🙂 ”

Manuela G.

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