A consultant's journey to the UK - Dr Francesco Spadaro

  • June 28, 2022

Are you an overseas psychiatrist looking to move to the UK? Have you always wanted to hear first-hand the experiences of an international psychiatrist who has been through the process, from receiving full GMC registration to securing an NHS job and relocating to the UK?   

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 Francesco Spadaro, a brilliant consultant psychiatrist who relocated to the UK from Italy. Francesco has been living and working in the UK after receiving full GMC with specialist registration. He is now working in the NHS at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, where he is making a positive impact on the service and the wider community.  

Tell us about yourself - what should the IMG community know about Francesco Spadaro?

My work is my passion. I really love the clinical aspect of it, especially talking with patients. I enjoy trying to help my patients as much as I can and giving them a hope in trying to improve their clinical condition. No matter who they are, where they come from, or how serious is their disorder may be. At the same time, studying and looking at how the mind works has always been such an important part of my life.

What motivated you to move to the UK? 

I was very keen to move to the UK. London is such a special place and completely unique in my opinion. The city is so open and inclusive and really encourages you to get involved in so many ways. This was a really big motivating factor for me.

Was Brexit an issue for you at all?

It was definitely something to consider, but I was lucky enough to be able to anticipate my leave at my previous job in order to avoid any potential Brexit complications.

How did you find a general adult psychiatry job within the NHS? 

I personally found IMG Connect to be a great help on this. The team really encouraged me with lots of advice and suggestions on how I could tailor my CV to specific roles I was applying to.

Most importantly, they really listened and took into consideration all of my needs and difficulties. They go far beyond any of the simple questions you may have for them and cover all angles, including things you may not have considered yourself!

Tell us about a day in the life of an international General Adult Psychiatrist.

I work in a secondary care, Community Services facility. We work in teams which cover several boroughs and are led by a senior practitioner, ans supported by health professionals with a range of expertise: nurses, social workers, support workers, psychologists and NGO volunteers.

We start each day with an MDT (multi-disciplinary team meeting) where we discuss our first assessments, feedback and cases with cause for concern. The great thing about these meetings is that we're all equally involved - everyone participates, sharing knowledge specific to their experience and role.

Consultants are involved in the most severe cases. They will also have slots where they will supervise trainee GPs and junior doctors. We also have lots of meetings throughout the week: scientific meetings, journal clubs and meetings concerning the organisation. Sometimes it feels like there are too many meetings, but I'm still getting used to the differences between the UK and Italian healthcare systems. 

Tell us about your journey to the UK...

It was really quick! Once I'd passed had my interview and been offered the job, I just organised my affairs and hopped on the plane. Of course COVID-19 complicated things, but that was the case for everyone in almost every country at the time.

What has been your experience working with IMG Connect? 

My experience with IMG Connect has been excellent. They carefully listened to my needs and requests and were always able to offer me appropriate jobs along my requests. They also prepared me in coping with any type of difficulties I would face in regards to relocation to London and my new role in the NHS. They were such a solid presence throughout this process for me and were always there to offer support, both before I had the job and afterwards.

Within the IMG Connect team, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ruaihdri MacKay in particular, who is an excellent professional recruitment consultant. He was a wealth of guidance, advice and support for me during, and also after, my entire recruitment and relocation. He showed what I consider a unique commitment, dedication and foresight and completely kept me at ease with his justified optimism and knowlegde of the steps in my journey. I was really lucky to have him on my side.

How are you settling into life in the UK?

Things were a little difficult to begin with due to the COVID-19 restrictions, but things have really eased and I'm enjoying living here.

What’s next for you now that you’re working in the UK?

At the moment I'm still settling in, learning a lot about the UK's system and procedures. Once things have settled a little more for me, I'd like to see whether I can incorporate some teaching or lecturing work into my career path in the UK.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in moving to the UK?

One of the challenges I've faced has been finding really affordable housing, but this was expected in moving to such a large and popular city as London.

Have you experienced any culture shocks living in the UK?

I wouldn't consider it so much of a cultural shock, instead I'm pleasantly surprised by the opportunity to work with such a diverse range of people. It really is a special experience that connects you to cultures and people all over the world.

What have you missed about Italy the most?

Most of all, I miss the lifelong friends I've made in Italy.

Do you have any tips or advice for international doctors who want to move to the UK?

I would just say, do it. Take a chance and live the experience!

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.   


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