We’re dedicated to finding outstanding doctors – that’s why we travel worldwide to meet international candidates and get them ready to work in the UK.

This month, we’re heading back to Greece, following our earlier successful visits. One of our international doctors, who we met during a previous visit to Athens, shares his experiences of moving to the UK.

I was born in Athens, Greece and decided I wanted to become a doctor when I was at high school.

I went to medical school in Athens and during that period I decided to do my postgraduate studies abroad. I started preparing for upcoming tests whist doing my compulsory military service in Greece. In my early 30s, I found myself in New York City starting my internal medicine training. I decided to move to the UK after a year to be closer to home and I completed a postgraduate diploma at Hammersmith School.

I worked in Geriatrics for six to seven months and did locum work before returning to America to complete my internal medicine degree.

Coming over to the UK
In the 90s the process was very difficult because I never considered having the help of an agency.

As of summer 2014, the GMC changed requirements for doctors applying for their license to practise in the UK.

It would have been helpful working with Athona at the beginning of this process, as they would have guided me and made it easier, especially with getting in touch with the GMC.

The UK is very organised – you know what your role requires, the amount of hours you have to work and what your daily tasks involve.

Although it seems difficult to accept and understand, working in a hospital in the UK is like working in a stress free environment. Many people hear the word hospital and become nervous, however, for me, there’s a good amount of organisation and help on hand. I’ve worked in completely chaotic environments in Greece and really notice the difference with the hospitals here. Obviously, some days are busier than others and there’s always unplanned situations, but overall the compensation and other staff are great.

Travelling between UK and Greece
This is my second time in the UK and my first long-term job here.

I have two young boys back in Greece, who I try to video chat as soon as possible. It’s difficult to work this around their school times and my work schedule, so I try to go home every two to three months before looking for another position in the UK.

Experience in the UK
As a junior doctor in the 90s I had to work very long hours on call. This is now my second time in the UK and things have definitely changed for me. I have returned as a consultant and my role’s very different. My main duties are to guide and teach the junior staff with how to deal with all medical cases.

I have more accountability, as I am now in a responsible position. I also contribute to the acute care of A&E patients, depending on the hospital I’m working in.

The best things about working in the UK
The working environment, having a clear cut role and the financial security – which exists even in a temporary locum position like mine.

How Athona have helped
I received a lot of help and support from Athona from the initial contact we had at the recruitment day in Athens.

Athona were the quickest recruitment agency with regards to getting in touch and helping me find my first long term job.

The telephone discussions with my consultant were very personal; she told me about possible positions, asked what I’m looking for and what geographical areas would suit me. I received a tremendous amount of help with the paperwork and they put in a lot of time and effort to help me. Theoretically, I could have done all of this myself, but it would have taken a lot of time and been stressful whilst looking for a position and getting prepared for work. It was nice to be able to trust somebody else with this.

Advice for doctors looking to work in the UK
The first is to join an agency who has a lot of industry experience, like Athona. It’s better to do this as soon as possible; it’s never too early to ask for help.

You have to be patient and show a good amount of perseverance. It’s tough moving away from family and being in a new environment, but by forgetting about your prior experience and titles in your home country, you can start again and show who you are in this country.

My colleagues look to me to be reliable and flexible and have the ability to adjust in a new working environment. Practising medicine is not different because you’re in another country. Whether you’re in Africa or Europe, you know how to make a diagnosis; medicine is medicine. How you perform and how you work depends on your flexibility. Your work ethic can’t be seen through your CV; it has to be shown in your work, to the people working alongside you.

It’s important to find an agency who is there for you when something difficult or unexpected comes up. Athona have helped me with necessary training, arranging accommodation and appraisals. These are all things where you need a good agency next to you.

We’re here to help
In addition to finding you a job in the UK, we can also help with:

  • Relocation guidance
  • Travel advice
  • Choose a mobile phone provider
  • Accommodation advice
  • Obtaining a National Insurance number
  • Registering with a GP and dentist

If you have friends or colleagues thinking of working as a doctor in the UK, refer them to us and you’ll receive £250.*

To find out more about our incentives, or to chat about your move to the UK, contact:

T: 01277 217777
E: international@athona.com

*T&Cs apply, see website for details.