A Psychiatrist's Journey to the UK - Dr Connie Chan

  • January 12, 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 Connie Chan, a brilliant perinatal psychiatrist who relocated to the UK from Hong Kong in 2022. Having passed the MRCPsych and English language exams, Connie received full GMC registration with license to practise. She is now working in the NHS at Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS 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 Connie Chan? 

I was born and trained in Hong Kong as a psychiatrist and have been working in perinatal mental health in the last 8 years, before I moved to practice in the UK in Spring 2022. I find working in perinatal mental health rewarding and it’s something I’m passionate about, so I was lucky to be able to find a job in the same sub-specialty in the UK.

What motivated you to move to the UK? 

My main priority has always been my children’s education, so quite naturally, I had considered sending them to study in the UK, where the standard of schools (both private and state) is excellent and world-class. My kids are still young, and so rather than sending them to boarding schools, I preferred to relocate with them so that I would not miss out on seeing them grow up.

Tell us about your experience of completing MRCPsych as part of your training in Hong Kong... 

I completed the Royal College of Psychiatrists examinations years ago, during a time when it was the norm in Hong Kong to do both our local professional exams and Royal College exams simultaneously. However, things have changed in my home city recently, and trainees can opt to complete the local membership examination only.

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

I did not face any major setbacks in my registration, and it was quite smoothly done. My GMC registration only needed restoration, but when I made the decision to restore it, it was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the restoration process was delayed by the suspension of all identity checks.

How did you find a perinatal psychiatry job within the NHS? 

I made IMG Connect aware of my intention to look for jobs in perinatal psychiatry and there were several openings around the country. Ruaidhri, the co-founder, helped me to line up interviews and with the preparation, and voila, I got the job.

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

I am currently working in the community team of a perinatal psychiatric unit.  We have multidisciplinary team meetings to discuss cases and I am amazed by the different perspectives contributed by different disciplines in the team to make discussions really meaningful, tailor-made and human-centred. I make home visits, do clinics and attend meetings, and have supervision with my line manager and supervise my junior doctors as well.

Work-life balance is something that is important to a lot of people. My previous job was more about meeting deliverables for the service pledge, which emphasised efficiency and service output, and sometimes led to staff burnout. Working in this new environment, I feel that I do have a choice.

What opportunities have become available to you through your work? 

The Trust I am working in has quite a comprehensive programme for IMGs, including personal development, understanding the values of the NHS, general IMG support and advice and peer groups for CESR. It is a good way to become familiar with the system. There are also a lot of managerial training and professional updates available.   

How are you settling into life in the UK? 

I am living in Greater Manchester with about a 45-minute commute into work each way. I prefer living a little further from work as driving by myself can be a good time for my own mindfulness to clear my thoughts. On weekdays, things are quite busy and it takes some planning to get my kids off to school and for pickups, as well as working and cooking in the evening. At the weekend, it is really a time that I can unwind and have quality time with my children. We have so many new things to learn and to share and new places to explore together.

What have you enjoyed most about living in Greater Manchester? 

There is the airport in Manchester which brings a lot of vibrancy to the city and the areas around it. The atmosphere of traveling and the mood for holidays is infectious. It makes friends stopping by for a visit whenever they come to visit the UK much easier. In fact, there are quite a lot of Hong Kong communities in the area, so it made my initial move feel less isolated and the transition period easier.

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

Living in a bigger place has been both a blessing and a curse. Manchester is the 2nd largest city in the UK, and living nearby allows me to have easy accessibility to many different things. However the vast area means to get from one place to another, I rely heavily on driving, and there is more to consider with regard to my children’s care and school runs. For me, driving is a challenge in winter as it gets dark earlier, and the rain makes the motorway quite daunting.

What have you missed about Hong Kong the most?

Definitely Hong Kong street food! There are just so many food delicacies there and they are a part of my cultural heritage that I am really proud of.

In hindsight, is there anything you would’ve done differently?

Honestly, I would do most things the same way. I would still choose to work with IMG Connect.  But as a parent, I would try to plan my relocation to coincide with the beginning of the academic year for school admissions, so that it would be easier to find schools for the kids, as in-year transfers are more difficult.

What has been your experience working with IMG Connect? 

My experience working with IMG Connect has been nothing short of amazing. I have been well taken care of on every level from job hunting, interview preparation, negotiations with human resources, to the choice of home, location, phone cards, school information, interesting places to visits, etc.  My queries and my worries were always addressed and attended to, and that was massive help for someone like me with no prior connections in the UK.

Ruaidhri was really my guiding star in getting me through tricky situations, and it is a testament to how helpful and easily approachable everyone at IMG Connect is, from top to bottom.

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

It is certainly a huge decision to make to relocate to the UK to work as a doctor. It is easier if one has a clear goal and works toward it step-by-step. Most importantly, I find it is the psychological preparedness to adapt to a new culture and work model that matters. It is never too late to make a new start.


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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