British trained physicians are considered one of the best in the world as they are trained in the concept of evidence base medicine to ensure cost effective and safe practice. These physicians are passionate not just about providing the high quality care to their patients but also protecting and developing the National Health Service (NHS). However over last few years we have witnessed a trend where a significant number of junior and senior physicians decided to leave the NHS and pursue their careers in the foreign lands. Most of them decide to move to Canada and Australia but over last 5 to 7 years a significant number decided to prefer Middle East over their life in UK. The ones who relocate to Middle East were mainly Consultants and GP’s, considered as the senior most staff working in NHS.
In this blog I would try to explore what Middle East has to offer and why so many British Physicians are choosing to relocate their.
Middle East (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait) have seen significant economic growth over last two decades. Like other areas, health sector enjoyed a significant boom thanks to the investments from private & government sectors. It was soon followed by American and European health companies who followed various models to be part of this growing sector. That generated a huge demand for western trained physicians as the local market was willing to pay higher rate to attract the quality.
Below are some of the attractions that one may enjoy working in Middle East;
- Most of the times western trained physicians will be recruited for tertiary care well funded advanced hospitals, big private hospitals attracting paying clients, multi-national companies or well sought after projects in the government or semi-governmental areas. This would give an unprecedented experience and exposure to work in a multi cultural environment with a different healthcare model. Where they do not have to experience heavy bureaucracy or budget cuts. This gives them freedom to implement all what they have learnt in NHS.
- Local community in general highly regards doctors and gives them the well deserved status. Litigation and claim culture has not hit these shores yet, hence the medical defence industry is in its infancy. Physicians are unlikely to pay the high burdensome payments to Medical defence organisations.
- Tax free attractive salary which most of the times would be higher than the gross salary they were getting in UK. With a falling value of British pound the salary package gets even more attractive.
- Better living standards with spacious free housing, most of the times in well furnished compounds and western grammar school education for children. Most companies would also support towards the school fee.
- Opportunity for career development as most companies would offer paid study leaves. The local health regulators have fairly well developed CPD system, requiring physicians to gather certain number of CPD points. This created a positive culture of learning and development which foreign physicians fully utilise and benefit from.
- All year round sunshine, with ample opportunities to enjoy sun, sea and sand.
- Geographic location of the Middle East offers easy access to top holiday locations in Africa, Europe and Asia.
- Finally believe it or not, it is safe, very safe. Safer than London, Birmingham or Manchester.
All of the above temptations were already difficult to resist but the deteriorating situation of NHS over last 7 to 8 years has made this decision easy for some. It is hardly surprising why some of the highly trained physicians decide to leave their homes and move off shores. They choose to desert the organization they have dearly served for ‘desert’ which is more greener than many thought and become part of the biggest export Britain does.
In my later blogs I would shed some light on the practical aspects of this move and the steps one has to follow and difficulties you have to overcome to migrate.