Finding Psychiatry Jobs in the UK - a Guide for Hong Kong Doctors 

  • June 28, 2022

Are you a psychiatrist from Hong Kong looking to live and work in the UK? Do you want to know how to find the best jobs working in the NHS? 

To be eligible to work in the NHS, psychiatrists from Hong Kong must have full GMC registration – this requires completion of the Royal College of Psychiatry exams (MRCPSych), as well as an English language exam.  

From our experience, the majority of Hong Kongers are either aware of the Royal College of Psychiatry exams or have already completed these as part of their specialist psychiatrist training - great news you are more than halfway there! If you are unsure about the requirements for MRCPsych, you can find an overview of MRCPsych here and get in touch to discuss in more detail.  

With recent experience of working with Hong Kong Psychiatrists on their journey to the UK, we thought that we’d share a few snippets of information to help get you started.  

As a Hong Kong doctor, where do I fit into the NHS?   

Psychiatrists from Hong Kong are a great fit for the NHS. And no matter what specialist training or specialist interest in psychiatry you have experience with, our NHS clients would consider you to be a high calibre candidate. Why? The training in Hong Kong is thorough, highly regarded here in the UK amongst NHS clients. 

If you are not sure about how your experience will translate to working in the NHS, then we are here to help - IMG Connect are experienced working with all specialisms in psychiatry, including general adult, child and adolescent, old age, perinatal, forensic, liaison, substance misuse & addictions, eating disorders, learning and intellectual disabilities.  

What kind of jobs can I find in the UK?  

This all depends on your experience in Hong Kong. Whilst there are a lot of similarities between our two healthcare systems, there are also a lot of differences too.  

MRCPsych typically qualifies candidates to take specialty doctor or middle grade posts. Think of it as like the FHKCPsych and the accompanying Fellowship of FHKAM (Psychiatry) examinations.   

NHS clients will look out for your experience and training combined in order to work out what level you will start in. However, before you can work as a consultant, there are a few certifications that you will need to achieve when in the UK, namely Section 12, Approved Clinician (AC) and CESR.  

For consultant psychiatrists who have already completed their specialist training in psychiatry in Hong Kong, you can enter the NHS as either a Specialty Doctor, or Specialist Grade, and in some cases as a consultant (dependent on experience & NHS Client). If starting in a specialist position, the aim here is that you will receive support to complete the aforementioned certifications in the UK, before quickly moving to a consultant post – this will be agreed before your arrival in the UK.  

There is demand in all areas of psychiatry, covering all grades. So, it is important to understand where you fit into the NHS, and we would be delighted to guide you through the process. Send in your CV or register with us, and we will arrange an informal chat with you to discuss your job options in full.  

Where can I find NHS jobs in psychiatry?  

You can get full access to the most recent psychiatry job postings straight to your inbox through IMG Connect. The latest NHS psychiatry jobs cover clinical settings from inpatient and outpatient to community services.  

With just a few clicks, you can create an account and customise job preferences to receive email alerts, whether you are a consultant, SHO, resident trainee or specialty doctor.  

Sign up here to receive up-to-date information on NHS jobs which you can tailor to your job preferences and receive straight to your inbox. 

Can I get access to CESR?  

Our experience tells us that CESR is a fantastic option for Hong Kong Psychiatrists joining the NHS. So far, we have found that the quickest route for psychiatrists has been to secure a Specialist Grade or Specialty Doctor post, with CESR support. This route will ensure access to a broad range of UK experience helping you to build your evidence for a future CESR application.  

It can be a little confusing, so the best advice here is to speak to us about your options for CESR and how best to prepare for a future application.  

What if I haven’t taken MRCPsych?  

There are two routes to GMC registration for overseas psychiatrists, PLAB and MRCPsych. Whilst MRCPsych can be more time consuming and expensive, our advice is that it is well and truly worth the investment – especially for more experienced psychiatrists. Clients look out for it, and your CV will be moved to the top of the pile.  

The MRCPsych exams can now be taken online. Sample questions as well as information about how the three parts are marked are available on the MRCPsych website and can be accessed here. We have also created a detailed guide to MRCPsych for international doctors which you can find on our website here:  

MRCPsych – a Guide for Overseas Psychiatry Doctors 

For more information about the online MRCPsych exams, click here

How do I register with the GMC?  

Once both the MRCPsych and English exams have been completed, Hong Kong IMGs can then apply for full GMC registration with license to practice.  

There are further checks involved in the registration process, such as verification of medical licenses, however these are steps that will be taken care of with your IMG Connect recruitment specialist. However, if you’d like to learn more about these processes, you can find information in our blog breaking down the steps to GMC registration for overseas doctors here

What visa will I need? BN(O) or Tier 2?  

Honk Kong residents with British National (overseas) status can apply to travel to the UK to live for up to five years with dependent family members, through the British National (Overseas) visa. 

You also have the option of securing a Skilled Worker visa, or Health & Care visa to give the most recent term. We know that securing a visa in Hong Kong is a challenge at the moment, so if you think that the Health & Care Visa is a good option for you, don’t hesitate to connect with us to discuss your options.  

What are the next steps?  

We are here to help with all questions big or small, whether you are starting out on your journey or ready to look explore jobs. Get in touch with us or register below. 

We hope this helps and wish you the best of luck in your search!  

To receive the latest news and updates on all things psychiatry, including the Royal College, GMC registration and the NHS, follow us on social media and join the conversation. 



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