A Psychiatrist's Journey to the UK - Dr Brittany Meyer

  • February 06, 2023
 

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 Brittany Meyer, a brilliant general adult psychiatrist who relocated to the UK from the US. Having completed the USMLE during her training, Brittany was able to gain full GMC registration with license to practise. She is now working in the NHS at West London Mental Health Foundation Trust, where she is making a fantastic impact on the service and wider community.  


Tell us about yourself – what should the IMG community know about Brittany Meyer? 

I am a US-trained psychiatrist now working as a specialty doctor in the NHS. I trained in psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and following training, I worked at a consultant level in an intensive outpatient treatment centre specialising in OCD and anxiety. 

My academic interests include catatonia, psychosis, OCD, and teaching, and I have a special love for opportunities that allow blending the arts and humanism with medicine.

What motivated you to move to the UK? 

I moved to the UK to be with my fiancé, who is a born and bred Londoner. The pandemic was a major motivator to be in the same country finally! Luckily, I have dual US-UK citizenship, so this made the move over much simpler.

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

During the registration process, at which point I had moved to the UK, I worked part-time for a tele-psychiatry service located in the USA, allowing me to treat patients from abroad. This was invaluable in terms of flexibility, and it prevented my clinical skills from becoming too rusty while I waited for my licensing to be approved. 

My main struggle, if anything, was having so much unfamiliar unstructured time on my hands. I strongly recommend setting out a weekly schedule for yourself if you are in a similar situation, filled with other means of staying productive and gaining a sense of accomplishment you might otherwise get from your job. It’s also important to maximize such rare time to enjoy nourishing hobbies and interests - for example I learned to watercolour and spent many mornings at the V&A museum - and in hindsight wish I had been more proactive in seeking such activities out.

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

I was hoping to find an outpatient mental health team position and Ruaidhri fully facilitated the job search. When I began the registration process, I felt quite disoriented, and it was difficult to find someone who had an incentive to talk me through my options and the steps to get there. 

It was only when I found IMG Connect and Ruaidhri that I felt someone was in my corner, illuminating an otherwise confusing journey and assisting with each step along the way. It was no different for the job search, when Ruaidhri deftly handled the search and communication with NHS trusts to find a position for me. I am deeply indebted to Ruaidhri for not only the logistical work he put in on my behalf, but also the moral support along the way.

Tell us about a day in the life of a general adult psychiatrist in the NHS... 

Learning an entirely new system has been quite an adjustment. In addition, I am working in a model that is new to the NHS, so the system is foreign in ways I didn’t expect, for example not having the ability to order blood work or imaging, or to even prescribe anything beyond very short-term medications. The team I work with has been incredibly welcoming and have helped orient me to resources like the BNF and Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines to orient me to standard practice. 

Working in the NHS can be quite chaotic, and this is an especially challenging time in terms of staffing and funding within the system, but the difference I can make in my patients’ lives is striking.

What opportunities have become available to you through your work? 

I am still in the infancy of my NHS career, but I am hoping to pursue teaching opportunities, particularly around the diagnosis and management of catatonia. I have found everyone to be very supportive and willing to connect me to those who can further this.

How are you settling into life in the UK? 

London is a magical space. Having access to some of the best museums, opera, theatre, restaurants and architecture in the world is a luxury. I have also loved the flexibility of being so close to other amazing places in the UK and Europe, which has allowed me to spend time in France, Spain, Italy, Wales, Northern Ireland, and more. Being able to spend a weekend in another country the way we would visit another state in the US is incredible!

I hope to eventually have a role that blends more teaching and support of trainees and medical students with clinical care. I am very excited to get married in 2023 and hopefully become a dog parent as well!

You’re of course a British citizen, is living in London what you had expected? 

Yes and no! Though a British citizen, I had only lived in Scotland as a small child and spent holidays with my family in Northern Ireland growing up. So the big city - especially a walkable city - was a new experience for me! I’ve really enjoyed not owning a car and using public transport, and I’ll admit I’m still adapting to the very small stores with fewer than the usual 500 options of cereal that the US touts.

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

Leaving family and friends, especially during the pandemic, was even more difficult than I expected. Not being able to have anyone visit in the first year of being in the UK was challenging. I think it is important to normalise that moving to a new place - even an incredibly exciting and vibrant place like London - can feel lonely at times, and that it is expected to have a period of transition that might not feel comfortable. However, London is feeling increasingly like home, and I have made wonderful friends since arriving.

What have you missed most about the US?

Target! Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (for the very desperate like me, available for ten pounds at Partridge’s)! Tacos! Smiling and saying hello to strangers on the street!

Is there anything you wish you had known before you began your journey to the UK?

I wish I had found IMG Connect while living in the US so I could have prepared and submitted my application while living in the US before moving; this would have cut down on a lot of limbo time after I moved.

I also wish I had understood the CESR process for specialist registration while still in the US, as that would have allowed me to gather and anonymise patient documentation from my job there to support my CESR application; unfortunately I have now lost the right to access that documentation due to patient information protection laws. If you are considering applying for specialist registration and are still in your pre-NHS job, collect all the supporting documentation you can!

What has been your experience working with IMG Connect? 

IMG Connect has been incredibly key in helping me to get licensed and find a position working as a doctor in the UK. Ruaidhri has been helpful in a multitude of ways: explaining a foreign system and where I might fit in, doing the groundwork of distributing my CV and liaising with HR departments to explore job possibilities, setting up interviews, guiding my licensing application, and supporting my appeal including with a written letter of support. I truly would not have been able to navigate this on my own - and had tried unsuccessfully before I found IMG Connect.

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

I tried to seek information from a lot of different sources: forums, family friends who were practicing physicians in the UK, online blogs, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the GMC. Ultimately the most helpful resource by far was IMG Connect: both the one-on-one tailored advice, as well as their handouts that break down the ins and outs of the UK system and guide you through exactly what documents you need to collect in what order, etc., to achieve licensing. It’s such a niche process that I found the only really helpful resource to be a service that is devoted to my precise needs as an internationally-trained doctor transitioning to the UK.


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.   

For regular news and updates, follow IMG Connect on social media using the links below: 

            

 

Relevant Jobs

110,257 - 164,372

We are looking to recruit a Consultant Psychiatrist to a Crisis & Assessment Team role in the Channel Islands, a UK territory sitting off the coast of France and just a 1 hour flight from London. This job presents a great opportunity to advance your medical career in the UK.

The health service, separate from the NHS, is an integrated, taxation-funded system, free at the point of delivery, managed by the Health and Community Services Department on the island. Key benefits of working there are higher salaries than the NHS, lower taxes and sunnier weather.

Consultant Pay range - £110,257 to £164,372
Single rate of tax - 20%.

The Department & Team

The Crisis and Assessment Team (CAT) serves as the primary gateway to adult and older people\'s mental health services, conducting assessments in the community and emergency settings, alongside medical reviews. They collaborate closely with law enforcement, responding to Adult Protection Notices and coordinating mental health law assessments. This role within the CAT focuses on streamlining referrals, providing short-term crisis interventions, and ensuring individuals receive appropriate ongoing care. You\'ll engage with both working-age adults and older adults, with responsibilities extending to police referrals and mental health law assessments during standard working hours, with on-call commitments.

Continued Professional Development

Professional development is integral to their ethos, offering CESR Portfolio Pathway support, access to specialty training, and opportunities for sub-specialist development. They prioritize ongoing learning through conferences, local CME events, and a generous study leave allowance.

Life in the area

Living in this location offers significant financial benefits. The flat income tax rate of 20% is notably advantageous compared to the UK, and a generous public sector pension scheme is provided, not constrained by UK lifetime or annual contribution limits. The consultant contract closely mirrors the UK model but offers higher incremental levels starting at £110,257 and with a top basic salary of £164,372.


Am I eligible for this role?

UK based candidates:

  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry
  • Specialist Registration or locum consultant experience

EEA candidates: 

  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry
  • European Specialist Qualification


Non-EEA candidates:

  • MRCPsych
  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry
110,257 - 164,372

We are looking to recruit a Consultant Psychiatrist to an Old Age role in the Channel Islands, a UK territory sitting off the coast of France and just a 1 hour flight from London. This job presents a great opportunity to advance your medical career in the UK.

The health service, separate from the NHS, is an integrated, taxation-funded system, free at the point of delivery, managed by the Health and Community Services Department on the island. Key benefits of working there are higher salaries than the NHS, lower taxes and sunnier weather.

Consultant Pay range - £110,257 to £164,372
Single rate of tax - 20%.

 

What is the health & community service like?

Working in this location is professionally rewarding, offering high-quality, patient-centered care. Clinicians lead in developing and managing services, supported by strong links with UK specialists. With a generous study leave budget, doctors are encouraged to pursue further education. Exciting developments include a new general hospital and a new mental health inpatient unit. The service fosters strong relationships between mental health, primary, and secondary care, promoting joint learning and teaching in a modern education center.

What is the department & team like?

The inpatient services are currently undergoing extensive refurbishment, including two wards for older adults. One ward offers 14 assessment beds for individuals over 65 experiencing functional mental health issues, with some flexibility for those under 65. The other ward provides 10 assessment beds for patients with dementia. Following the refurbishment, the latter ward will feature 8 acute assessment beds and 8 transitional/step-down beds for those with dementia or enduring mental health problems who cannot be supported in local nursing or residential homes.

The Older Adults Community Mental Health Team (OACMHT) manages a caseload of about 300 patients, including new referrals triaged by the Crisis and Assessment team, providing both short-term treatment and long-term care coordination. The role involves providing medical support to the OACMHT alongside two other consultants and a staff grade doctor.

The post holder will join an established team, comprising 2 WTE older adult consultants, 1.0 WTE Associate Specialist (Memory Assessment Service), 2.0 WTE staff grades (inpatient and community), and 1.0 WTE F1 doctor (inpatients and community). Dedicated administrative support includes a 0.5 WTE medical secretary and ward and team secretarial support.

Continued Professional Development

This position offers further training and accreditation within psychiatry, including CESR Portfolio Pathway support, access to specialty training, and the opportunity to develop sub-specialist interests. The post holder will have ample opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and experience through attendance at relevant courses, conferences, and locally organized CME events. The organization supports Continuing Medical Education with time and financial support, offering study leave of 30 days in 3 years and an annual study leave allowance. Regular case discussions, teaching sessions, and MDT supervision ensure ongoing professional development, meeting the Royal College of Psychiatrists\' CPD requirements.

Living in the Area

Living in this location offers significant financial benefits. The flat income tax rate of 20% is notably advantageous compared to the UK, and a generous public sector pension scheme is provided, not constrained by UK lifetime or annual contribution limits. The consultant contract closely mirrors the UK model but offers higher incremental levels starting at £110,257 and with a top basic salary of £164,372.

Am I eligible for this role?Am I eligible for this role?

UK based candidates:

  • Experience in Old Age Psychiatry
  • Specialist Registration or locum Consultant Experience
EEA candidates: 
  • Experience in Old Age Psychiatry
  • European Specialist Qualification
Non-EEA candidates:
  • MRCPsych
  • Consultant experience in Old Age Psychiatry
110,257 - 164,372

We are looking to recruit a Consultant Psychiatrist to a General Adult role in the Channel Islands, a UK territory sitting off the coast of France and just a 1 hour flight from London. This job presents a great opportunity to advance your medical career in the UK.

The health service, separate from the NHS, is an integrated, taxation-funded system, free at the point of delivery, managed by the Health and Community Services Department on the island. Key benefits of working there are higher salaries than the NHS, lower taxes and sunnier weather. 

Consultant Pay range - £110,257 to £164,372
Single rate of tax - 20%

General Adult Psychiatry Department & Team

The inpatient service features 17 adult acute beds, including an extra-care area, for individuals aged 18 to 65 with severe mental illness requiring admission. The goal is to promote recovery and well-being, helping service users achieve their potential. The service caters to a diverse population with complex needs. The multidisciplinary inpatient team includes doctors (two part-time consultants, staff grade/clinical fellow, and F2), a clinical psychologist, nurses, a social worker, occupational therapists, an art therapist, healthcare assistants, and administrative staff.

The Home Treatment Team functions as a step-up, step-down service to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and facilitate early discharge. They attend ward reviews, support patients on leave, and assist with discharge planning, also gatekeeping inpatient beds. The team includes two part-time consultants, a 0.5 FTE team manager, two FTE senior practitioners, 5.5 FTE nurse practitioners, one FTE social worker, three FTE senior HCAs, and one FTE occupational therapist. Covering all adult ages, there is an arrangement with an Older Adult Consultant for additional support if needed.

Continued Professional Development

This position offers further training and accreditation within psychiatry, including CESR Portfolio Pathway support, access to specialty training, and the opportunity to develop sub-specialist interests. The post holder will have ample opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and experience through attendance at relevant courses, conferences, and locally organized CME events. The organization supports Continuing Medical Education with time and financial support, offering study leave of 30 days in three years and an annual study leave allowance. Regular case discussions, teaching sessions, and MDT supervision ensure ongoing professional development, meeting the Royal College of Psychiatrists\' CPD requirements.

Living in the Area

Living in this location offers significant financial benefits. The flat income tax rate of 20% is notably advantageous compared to the UK, and a generous public sector pension scheme is provided, not constrained by UK lifetime or annual contribution limits. The consultant contract closely mirrors the UK model but offers higher incremental levels starting at £110,257 and with a top basic salary of £164,372.

Am I eligible for this role?

UK based candidates:

  • Experience in Adult Psychiatry
  • Specialist Registration or locum Consultant Experience

EEA candidates: 

  • Experience in Adult Psychiatry
  • European Specialist Qualification

Non-EEA candidates:

  • MRCPsych
  • Consultant experience in Adult Psychiatry
110,257 - 164,372
We are looking to recruit a Consultant Psychiatrist to a Child & Adolescent  role in the Channel Islands, a UK territory sitting off the coast of France and just a 1 hour flight from London. This job presents a great opportunity to advance your medical career in the UK.

The health service, separate from the NHS, is an integrated, taxation-funded system, free at the point of delivery, managed by the Health and Community Services Department on the island. Key benefits of working there are higher salaries than the NHS, lower taxes and sunnier weather.

Consultant Pay range - £110,257 to £164,372
Single rate of tax - 20%.

The post holder will be expected to take on the full range of duties including the routine and emergency diagnosis and management of children and young people with significant mental health problems (up to the age of 18), the support of other team members, and providing consultation and advice to other agencies. Successful applicants will be encouraged to develop a special interest and take a clinical lead in one of the following areas: Eating Disorders, Crisis Intervention, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, or Transition.

The Health Service

Working for this service is professionally rewarding, offering high-quality, patient-centered care. Their clinicians lead in developing and managing services, supported by strong links with UK specialists. With a generous study leave budget, doctors are encouraged to pursue further education. Exciting developments include a new general hospital and a new mental health inpatient unit. They foster strong relationships between mental health, primary, and secondary care, promoting joint learning and teaching in their modern education centre.

Department & Team

The Mental Health Service is staffed by a dedicated multi-disciplinary team, supported by secretarial and administrative staff. The service provides comprehensive assessment, treatment, and therapeutic interventions for a wide range of developmental, behavioral, emotional, and psychiatric issues in children and young people up to their 18th birthday.

Currently, CAMHS manages 1,627 open cases. In 2022, 926 new referrals were received, with 752 new referrals to date in 2023. The current locum postholder\'s caseload is approximately 90, with most cases having an allocated care coordinator. While most new assessments are conducted by other members of the multi-disciplinary team, some will require an initial medical assessment. On average, there are 1-2 new assessments and 15-20 follow-up appointments per week, depending on case complexity and other commitments.

Continued Professional Development

The health service offers further training & accreditation within psychiatry, including CESR Portfolio Pathway Support, access to specialty training, and the opportunity to develop sub-specialist interest. The post holder will have ample opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and experience through attendance at relevant courses, conferences, and locally organized CME events. Health & Community Services supports Continuing Medical Education with time and financial support, offering study leave of 30 days in 3 years, and an annual study leave allowance. Regular case discussions, teaching sessions, and MDT supervision ensure ongoing professional development, meeting the Royal College of Psychiatrists\' CPD requirements.

Living in the Area

Living in this location offers significant financial benefits. The flat income tax rate of 20% is notably advantageous compared to the UK, and a generous public sector pension scheme is provided, not constrained by UK lifetime or annual contribution limits. The consultant contract closely mirrors the UK model but offers higher incremental levels starting at £110,257 and with a top basic salary of £164,372.

Am I eligible for this role?

UK based candidates:
  • Experience in Child & Adolescent  Psychiatry
  • Specialist Registration or locum Consultant Experience
EEA candidates: 
  • Experience in Child & Adolescent  Psychiatry
  • European Specialist Qualification
Non-EEA candidates:
  • MRCPsych
  • Consultant experience in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
52,530 - 82,400

A prime opportunity awaits a dedicated Specialty Doctor in Psychiatry to join the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team (CRHTT) for a NHS job in the UK, with CESR support. Located at Eaglestone Health Centre on Milton Keynes Hospital Campus, you\'ll provide top-tier assessment, consultation, and treatment for individuals in mental health crises, with office space and administrative support.

As part of a medical team with a Consultant Psychiatrist and Trainee Doctor, you\'ll demonstrate motivation, energy, and a fervent commitment to exceptional patient care. Strong teamwork, organizational skills, initiative, effective communication, and empathy are key. Operated by an NHS Foundation Trust that is known for excellence locally, nationally, and internationally, this role offers professional growth opportunities for EU-trained specialists and experienced IMGs seeking CESR completion.

What is the NHS Foundation Trust like?

Established in 2002 through the merger of several trusts, this NHS Foundation Trust is among the UK\'s largest. With about 7,000 staff, they serve a third of London\'s population and extend services to areas like Milton Keynes, Kent, Surrey, and Hampshire.

Their focus is on delivering patient-centered, safe, and effective care across various settings, from hospitals to community clinics and even patients\' homes. They emphasize community-based services, aligning with the NHS\'s modernization goals. They prioritize recruiting exceptional individuals who support patients and colleagues alike, offering opportunities for career development. The role entails participating in clinical supervision sessions with the team\'s consultant psychiatrist.

What is the Department & Team like?

The Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team (CRHTT) comprises a multi-disciplinary group of mental health professionals delivering a 7-day service for individuals in acute psychiatric crises. They offer intensive community-based interventions as an alternative to hospitalization and support early discharge, facilitating the transition back to the community. The team triages referrals, deciding on home treatment or admission, aiming to provide less restrictive alternatives to hospitalization when feasible.

The Team is composed of:

  • 1.0 wte Consultant Psychiatrist
  • 1.0 wte Specialty Doctor
  • 1.0 wte Core Trainee / equivalent
  • 1.0 wte Team Manager
  • 3.0 wte Senior Practitioner Band 7
  • 14.5 wte Mental Health Practitioner Band 6
  • 2.6 wte Occupational Therapist Band 6
  • 2 wte Therapy Support Staff Band 4
  • 6.6 wte Support Worker Band 3
  • 3 wte Medical Secretary and Team Administrator Band 4

The post holder is expected to make an assessment, diagnosis, formulation of risks and development of a management plan for new referrals, re-referrals and patients under the care of the team. The post holder is expected to identify need for referrals to other services such as referrals for psychological interventions and review treatment plans and risk assessments of patients in the service.

Career Development & Opportunities Available

There is real opportunity to progress through CESR at pace at this trust, with a strong desire for newly-qualified consultants to develop their specialty areas of interest and undertake in various cancer trials and research projects where possible. Research is encouraged here, particularly when this is appropriate to professional development and to the service development of the department. 

If you are a new consultant you will receive mentoring and support from medical leads as well as access to a large peer group of enthusiastic and high-caliber Consultants. 

Life in South East

South East, a vibrant urban area in Buckinghamshire, offers a blend of city amenities and rural charm. Residents enjoy scenic parks & perfect for outdoor activities. The area boasts excellent schools and universities. Transportation links are convenient, with easy access to major cities like London and Birmingham via train and nearby airports like Luton and Birmingham. Housing options range from modern apartments in the city center to spacious suburban homes, catering to diverse preferences and lifestyles.

Am I eligible for this role?
UK based candidates:

  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry - Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team
EEA candidates: 
  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry - Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team
Non-EEA candidates:
  • MRCPsych
  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry - Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team

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