A Consultant Oncologist's Journey to the UK - Dr Kishore Kumar

  • November 05, 2021
 

Are you an overseas medical oncologist looking to move to the UK? Here you can hear first-hand the experience of an international medical oncologist who has been through the process, from completing their MRCP and 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 Kishore Kumar, a brilliant consultant oncologist who relocated to the UK from India. Kishore has been living and working in the UK after receiving full GMC with license to practice. He is now working in the NHS at South Tees Hospitals 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 Kishore Kumar?

I am a medical oncologist who moved to the UK from India. I moved to the UK later in my life than most IMGs, I'd say, having worked as a consultant medical oncologist in India for over 11 years before I decided to move to the NHS. The system I worked in was quite similar to the NHS (free medical care at the point of access), and whilst I was looking for a change, this was something I enjoyed about my previous work and was looking for that in any healthcare system I may move into.

What motivated you to move to the UK? 

The NHS is arguably one of the finest healthcare systems in the world (I know many some may disagree, but having personally seen some other systems, I would definitely rate the NHS very highly). Working in the NHS was a long-held desire of mine, so the move was logical once the opportunity presented itself.

Tell us about your experience with the Royal College exams...

I passed the MRCP exams in 2005 at a time when there were no overseas centers in India. I had to travel to the UK for the exam, which was held in Glasgow and I also attended a training session in Ealing Hospital for the exam. It was very exciting process for me, especially visiting the UK for the first time.

Do you have any tips or advice for overseas doctors who are currently working towards MRCP?

I passed the exam quite a while ago, so I'm not sure how relevant my advice will be to current candidates. However, from my experience, overseas doctors need to understand the NHS system to do well, especially for the PACES exam. Practices which build on this knowledge would be helpful.

How did you manage to navigate and juggle the different aspects of registration whilst working?

Since I was working full time, I needed to set aside dedicated time to study for the MRCP exams. I roped in a friend (a very bright doctor) who would conduct mock exams for me over the weekends.

Did you have any major or unexpected issues with the GMC registration process or your visa application?

Since I was applying for GMC registration a significant amount of time after passing the MRCP, the GMC wanted evidence that I was still up-to-date in my practice. Luckily, this wasn't too complicated and the GMC advisor was very helpful.

How did you find a medical oncology job within the NHS? 

Two words: IMG Connect. I was completely new to the process and I was quite unsure about locations and the general steps. Ruaidhri form the IMG Connect team was my go-to person for everything, from advice regarding locations, to job profiles, visas, and GMC registration. I don’t think I would have made it here if not for him. Most importantly, IMG Connect really listened and took into consideration all of my needs and worries. 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!

I would advise any IMGs hoping to relocate to the UK to find someone (like Ruaidhri) who will genuinely look after THEIR interests. It is easy to land up in the wrong role and to struggle through the complications of trying to leave soon after. If in doubt, seek advice from overseas doctors already in the UK and honest recruitment teams like IMG Connect.

Tell us about a day in the life of an NHS consultant medical oncologist...

The days are usually quite busy. They are split into two sessions (morning and afternoon), with at least one session (sometimes both) being a clinic and the other an MDT or another supportive activity. Working in the UK is very different to working in India, in some ways. At my current hospital, we see far less patients than I used to, but the amount of time spent on each patient is far greater. Of course, five-day working weeks are very welcome (it was six in India).

Tell us about your journey to the UK...

I arrived in early November 2020, when the UK had just gone into its second lockdown. COVID numbers were very high and many people advised me against traveling until things had settled. However, at this point I didn’t see COVID-19 going away anytime soon and decided there was no time like the present. The only difference was my family made sure I traveled business class to decrease the risks - this was the only time I've ever flown business class and it was nice ;-)

What has been your experience working with IMG Connect? 

Absolutely fantastic! I can’t thank Ruaidhri and Marcus enough for everything. Just to give you an example, once I'd landed in the UK and reached my accommodation, I had to quarantine for two weeks. Ruaidhri drove over 3 hours (one way, at night) from Scotland to my place and brought in groceries for the next two weeks, since I would not be able to go shopping. Need I say more.

Although it’s been almost a year since my arrival in the UK, I still regularly chat with Ruaidhri and Marcus. We're like old friends at this point.

How are you settling into life in the UK?

I'd say I'm settling in quite well, and my colleagues agree. I am currently here without my family (they will join me later), so I've needed something to do at the weekends. Once the lockdown lifted, I bought a car and have traveled quite a bit. I go trekking most weekends and enjoy visiting new places.

What have you enjoyed most about living in Middlesbrough in particular?

The proximity to great places to visit. It’s just 20 minutes from the beach, or the Yorkshire Moors. London (from Darlington) is less than 3 hours away, and Scotland is a couple of hours away, as is the lake district.

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

My department has been very helpful. They are actively supporting me in my CESR application process, and I'm getting involved in research and clinical trials. I have also been given teaching opportunities, and even delivered a talk in the Royal College of Physicians CPD series.

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

I'd say the separation from my family, primarily on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Have you experienced any culture shocks living in the UK?

No real 'shocks', but I've found the people here quite friendly. The only shock really is how expensive things are compared to India (things like train fares, eating out etc). I've also been introduced to things I'd never done before, like filling petrol and air in a car, ironing clothes etc.

What have you missed about India the most?

Other than my family, I miss the sunny days most (where I lived in India was sunny and not very hot). I will never take the sun for granted again!

Is there anything you wish you’d known before you began your journey to live and work in the UK?

Not really. Having friends and family who already lived in the UK (as well as the power of the internet), meant that a lot of my questions had already been answered and there was a lot of information available to me.

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

Moving to the UK is something to consider if you're an IMG looking for a good work-life balance. A medical oncologist might be paid better in some countries, but it would be difficult to beat the quality of work and the relatively stress-free work environment here. I'd say try to avoid landing here during the winter - it does not make a very good first impression, but if you have interests in other areas (especially travel or hiking), the summers here are really awesome!


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 for IMGs to secure rewarding jobs, progress within their fields and explore adjacent opportunities such as CESR, writing publications, teaching opportunities 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 family.   

Join the IMG Oncologists Facebook group for access to a community of like-minded MRCP aspirants and dedicated oncology recruiters.

In this group you will find tailored resources for oncology IMGs, including access to our MRCP crash courses, completely free to all doctors.

You can access our IMG Oncologists community here.

For regular news and updates on the Royal College and all things oncology, follow IMG Connect on social media using the links below: 

            

 

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We are currently looking for an experienced Clinical Oncologist, who works with both chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments for a large acute hospital in the Midlands, England.

You\'d be joining a team of 8 clinical and 2 medical oncology consultants at the modern Oncology Centre (opened in mid 2010\'s), to help support and develop site-specific services in outpatient and chemotherapy as part of the development of the centre. 

There are 3 Elekta LINACS with VMAT and IGRT, using Mosaiq and Raystation for RT planning on site, along with 35 chemo day chairs used across 3 hospitals under this NHS trust.

JOB REQUIREMENTS:

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LENGTH OF CONTRACT:
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Benefits:

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An exciting NHS job opportunity is open for a Consultant Clinical Oncologist specializing in Lung & Breast Cancer at an NHS Trust that has been rated \"good\" over all by the CQC. This NHS Trust has undergone significant development, emphasizing patient and community care excellence. With £58 million in national funding, the Trust boasts a University Hospital status, prioritizing research, education, and training. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) lauds the Trust\'s outstanding performance, with 992 beds and 92% patient recommendation, serving a population of 675,000.

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The post holder is expected to: 

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Life in the area, a historic home of the Royal Navy, offers cultural richness and proximity to scenic countryside. A thriving artistic community, excellent schools, and various development projects contribute to the vibrant atmosphere. The area combines city conveniences with picturesque villages, making it an excellent place to raise a family!

This comprehensive opportunity integrates the Consultant role, SABR RT specialisation, CESR support, and coastal life in the UK, creating a fulfilling and enriching professional and personal experience. 

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE? 

EEA Candidates: 

  • Recognised European Medical Degree or Specialist Qualification

Non-EEA Candidates:

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UK Based Candidates: 

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This is a great opportunity for any experienced consultant clinical oncologist working towards CESR in Clinical oncology specialist registration in the UK.

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What Career Development and Opportunities are available?

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Life in South Wales

Based in South Wales, the area is fast becoming one of the most popular places to live in the UK. This waterfront location is actually Wales’s second most populated city and county, offering all the benefits and amenities of a built-up urban environment, alongside a 5 mile stretch of a pristine, sandy coastline. 

The city is home to multiple live music venues, showcasing everything from small gigs to orchestral performances. Annually, the city hosts a number of different festivals, attracting artists from across Wales and the UK. Today, new regeneration is planned which will only increase its popularity, amenities, and modernity. The city is experiencing a period of development and a resurgence of new business and investment, with the city council focusing on creating a culture of creativity and an emphasis on attracting tech led businesses.

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Am I eligible for this role?

EEA candidates: 
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Non-EEA candidates: 
•    MRCP
•    Extensive experience in AOS/Melanoma oncology
 
UK-based candidates: 
•    Extensive experience in AOS/Melanoma oncology
•    Within 6-months of CESR or CCT in Medical Oncology

This is a great job for any experienced overseas Medical Oncologists working towards CESR and specialist registration in the UK.
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This is a high performing and friendly department for overseas doctors new to the NHS, or UK-based doctors looking to further careers in the UK, and a great opportunity for any overseas consultant oncologists looking for CESR support and great career development in a beautiful part of England.

What is the NHS Trust like?

This NHS Trust is the first NHS Trust on the English mainland to provide community, mental health and acute hospital services. It was formed from the merger of two trusts on the 1st April 2020. Now, they are preparing to merge with another trust so that they are better able to support the health of all the people in the area.

The trust provides a range of services from 13 community hospitals including outpatient and diagnostic services, 190 inpatient beds and seven Minor Injuries Units. They also provide specialist mental health services, healthcare for adults with learning disabilities, medical and surgical care, maternity services and cancer treatment services. The trust\'s facilities for the treatment of cancer have undergone a major expansion, culminating in the opening of the Cancer Centre in May 2009.

What is the Oncology Department like?

The Oncology Department provides Clinical and Medical Oncology inpatient and outpatient services as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy to all common tumour sites. The new appointee will be joining an ambitious team of 12 Consultant Oncologists (8 Clinical & 4 Medical), 1 Associate Specialist (Medical Oncology), 3 Speciality Doctors, and a rotation of junior doctors who cover the inpatient ward. There are also two Clinical Oncology ST3 doctors. It is a research orientated department with a dedicated clinical trials team and are one of the highest recruiters within the South West and nationally for a number of trials. 

The new consultant will be working within the Cancer Centre which provides cancer care to a population of approximately 500,000. It has received a number of accolades since opening in 2009 for the high quality care delivered. These include CHKS ISO 9001 accreditation, Macmillan Quality Environment Mark score of 5 (out of 5) on all principles and in the 2018 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey, the Beacon Centre was ranked third overall which is an excellent reflection of the patient centred care delivered.

What Career Development and Opportunities are available?

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Life in the area:

This area has diverse shopping, restaurants, and regularly hosts international music and sporting fixtures. It is located between various areas of outstanding natural beauty, featuring national hotspots for cycling, surfing, and climbing. There’s plenty to keep you occupied alongside the abundance of music festivals and local traditions. The area is in close proximity to both the beaches of North Devon and Cornwall, while also being less than two hours from the city of London. 

It also offers some of the best schools in the country. Ranging from public institutions to award winning state schools with one being ranked in the top 10 of A-level providers nationally for the last eight years.

Am I eligible for this role?

Non-EEA candidates: 

  • FRCR (Clinical Oncology)

EEA candidates: 

  • Recognised European Qualifications 

UK candidates: 

  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT
£55,329

Are you a Clinical Oncologist looking for a rewarding opportunity in the UK? An excellent NHS Foundation Trust is seeking a talented professional to join their oncology team. With a commitment to collaborative working, this NHS Foundation Trust provides excellent oncology services and ample opportunities for training, research, and career development. The trust is supportive of CESR applications.

The Oncology Department takes a collaborative approach to cancer care, with teams in two sites working together to provide comprehensive and sustainable services. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the Cancer Centres offer a multidisciplinary approach, supported by Acute Oncology Teams and a skilled team of healthcare professionals. The post holder will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an NHS Role as part of a well-equipped, modern oncology department.

The department sits within an NHS Trust that is known to be the leading healthcare provider in East Anglia, serves a population of nearly 800,000 residents across two main hospitals, six community hospitals, and various clinics. With a budget exceeding £650 million, the NHS Foundation Trust invests in enhancing their hospitals and creating an ideal working environment. They prioritise the well-being of their staff and patients, offering exciting prospects for development, innovation, research, education, and training.

Additional to the opportunity of working for a great NHS Foundation Trust, living in the area offers a diverse and vibrant lifestyle. Essex, with its stunning coastline, beaches, and countryside, provides a great environment for families. The county offers a range of housing options, urban or rural, at affordable prices. With excellent transport links to London, you can enjoy the benefits of both city and countryside living. Furthermore, Essex boasts good schools and a high quality of life, making it an ideal place to settle and explore nature\'s playground.

Join them to make a significant impact in the field of oncology while enjoying a fulfilling career and a balanced lifestyle in a beautiful region of the UK.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE?

To be eligible for this vacancy you will need the following:

EEA Candidates:

  • Recognised European Medical Degree or Specialist Qualification in Clinical Oncology
  • IELTS or OET

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • MRCP/FRCR/PLAB qualifications
  • Experience in Oncology
  • IELTS or OET

UK-Based Candidates:

  • MRCP or equivalent MD qualification
  • 2 years post-registration clinical practice

This is a great opportunity for any experienced Oncologist working towards CESR in the UK and Specialist Registration in Oncology. There will be opportunity to develop and lead on sub-specialist areas of cancer care.

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