A specialty doctor’s journey to the UK – Rehan Qureshi
September 16, 2021
IMG Stories is our series introducing you to international doctors who we have helped to relocate to the UK - sharing their personal journeys from working overseas to securing a new job as a doctor in the NHS.
Today we introduce you to Rehan Qureshi, a brilliant general medicine specialty doctor who relocated to the UK from Saudi Arabia with his wife, children and his mother in 2020. Having passed the MRCP and English language exams, Rehan received full GMC registration with license to practise. He is now working in the NHS at Scarborough General Hospital in the north of England – where he is making a fantastic impact on the service and wider community.
A specialty doctor’s journey to the UK
When I was first contacted by Marcus at IMG Connect about an NHS general medicine specialty doctor job opportunity at Scarborough General Hospital, I was a little nervous about where to start, and what lay ahead. We were moving from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is a very lively city, and I was going to quit my permanent job to relocate to the UK. I have always been keen to work for the NHS, but I wasn’t sure what it’d be like to start my first NHS job in a small coastal town. What would the hospital be like? How would I be treated? Would it be wet and dark like you hear about online? Would the hospital be supportive in my career progression, or would I be simply thrown into the wards to struggle? As an ethnic Muslim minority, would we struggle to find Asian, vegetarian and Halal foods and mosques? All these questions were going through my mind, and after working through these together with Marcus and the team at IMG Connect, and with only a few more fears remaining, I decided to take up the challenge and proceed.
"Ruaidhri put in so much effort to turn this impossible task into reality for me."
During my recruitment process, the biggest challenge was getting my mother’s visa. This was absolutely crucial for me as my mother has always lived with us and is such an important member of our household. We have also been her primary carers. Ruaidhri at IMG Connect put in so much effort to turn this impossible task into reality for me. During the process, it was a real team effort from IMG, and I’m also thankful to the MP for Scarborough and Whitby who responded to Ruaidhri’s request and supported our efforts in this matter. Needless to say, my mother is now very happy and settled into life in Scarborough!
The hospital was also very supportive and did not push me to start by any given date. They were very accommodating and gave me ample time to sort out my relocation process. While some of the other international doctors I knew were struggling to travel before the deadlines set by their NHS trusts, I never felt this pressure. I was supported throughout, knew where to turn for answers and ultimately it was such a big relief that my mother was able to come with us.
When we arrived at London Heathrow airport, the UK was in a lockdown due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. We had to quarantine on our arrival, and during this time, we were very well taken care of. Our groceries were paid for, and Ruaidhri checked in with us often to see how we were and if we ever needed anything. All my queries were promptly answered by Ruaidhri and the hospital’s recruitment team.
The very next working day after our arrival in the UK, I received an email from the medical recruitment team at Scarborough General Hospital, and the process for opening my bank account was promptly initiated. I know a number of people who have also struggled with opening their first bank account in the UK, however mine was just set up for me by the recruitment team, who put me in touch with the bank representative. All I had to do was visit the branch for 15 minutes for an ID check once our quarantine had finished and everything was set up!
At work, I found everybody to be very helpful. I received a tremendous amount of help as I struggled to get used to the new system. Whenever I got stuck somewhere, there was always someone to offer a helping hand by my side.
Initially we struggled with accommodation - finding suitable housing in Scarborough was challenging, especially when we had no previous tenancy history in the UK. However, with some help we were able to get our first accommodation which was a lovely fully furnished apartment. We enjoyed our stay there for a month before moving to a long-term let property.
There are two types of institutions, I believe: those that hire people, use them and lose them, and those that hire people, explore their interests and goals, help them progress in their careers as per their interests and preferences, and turn them into effective and happy members of staff. Scarborough Hospital is definitely the latter. Very soon after I started, my consultant sat with me and discussed my goals and personal development plan. I had always been interested in teaching, so he presented me with a number of teaching opportunities in the area. I received great support from him in my career development and with his support, I was appointed an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Hull York Medical School within only 2 months of my joining. Not only this, but he assured me of his full support in my career progression, which is very encouraging for me. When I meet other IMG doctors in the hospital, the thing that is quite noticeable among them is a great deal of professional satisfaction, no matter what grade they are working at.
Scarborough Hospital has a very friendly, multicultural environment and people work together with mutual respect and support for one another. Scarborough Hospital implements and fully supports the SAS charter of NHS and provides every possible opportunity to SAS doctors for their career progression and growth.
As a town, Scarborough is a lovely place to live in. It’s beautiful, peaceful, lively and even at night, the streets are very well lit, and the town is not dark or dead at all. It has all the amenities to cater for a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and we faced NO difficulty whatsoever at finding some Asian, vegetarian and Halal food to eat. We also love Scarborough’s local fish ‘n’ chips!
Scarborough has plenty of entertainment options for children. A forest on one side, seacoast on the other. Boating, hiking, cycling, parks, children’s train ride, the sea life aquarium, and castles with so much more to explore.
The town also has an Islamic centre where prayers are regularly offered. At the hospital, there are separate prayer rooms for both males and females, as well as a Chapel where Friday prayers are offered. I was very impressed when I first saw the Chapel being offered for prayers, which is a great gesture of inter-faith harmony at the hospital.
"I am immensely thankful to Marcus and Ruaidhri"
I am glad that I made the decision to come to Scarborough. It is a wonderful place to live, and people are genuinely nice and welcoming. Scarborough General Hospital is an excellent place to work. We got settled here very quickly and we have fallen in love with this place. My family and I are enjoy living here and have started to consider Scarborough our new home.
I am immensely thankful to Marcus and Ruaidhri at IMG connect and everyone else who played a role in my recruitment, relocation, and induction processes. I really appreciate all their efforts to make the entire process as swift and smooth as possible for us – they gave me the confidence to move to the UK with my family to work as a general medicine specialty doctor in the NHS.
Moving to live and work in the UK is a big decision to make but can be massively rewarding in many ways. International doctors have the chance to find a new home and the NHS presents an incredible opportunity to secure rewarding jobs, progress within their field and explore adjacent opportunities such as CESR (for non-EEA doctors), writing publications and research. Whatever route an overseas doctor may take on their journey to the UK, IMG Connect is here to support them through every step and welcome them to the IMG Connect family.