Hello, it has been some time since you last heard from me. Life happened in some wonderful and not so wonderful ways. I will probably share some of the experiences with you soon. Today, let’s talk about asking the right questions. I moved to the United Kingdom from Nigeria just ahead of the exodus (a mass movement of doctors from the country, due to worsening economic crisis).
At the time, a lot of those who had left ahead of me, had come through recruitment agencies. Salaries were not the most rosy. Their knowledge of the NHS systems was not very robust and there were not a lot of people to ask questions. A lot of what I learnt was through my personal experience. It does not have to be the same for you.
Let us go back to my story. I was employed directly from Nigeria by an NHS Trust. It was not the typical route at the time. I didn’t have a lot of options in terms of who could answer my questions. A lot of colleagues still suffer with the affliction of very high expectations from the staffing team. Sometimes those expectations are exceeded and sometimes you can be left terribly disappointed. When I got my job with my first trust, no mention was made by the staffing office about refunding the costs of relocation. In my certificate of sponsorship, it was stated that the cost of the first month of accommodation would be borne by the Trust. I lacked knowledge and did not feel confident to ask questions. I was not paid a penny towards relocation or my accommodation.
A year into my contract with the Trust, a Nigerian doctor arrived. She was one of the doctors won had the privilege of shared experiences with 200 plus migrating doctors in a WhatsApp group. She therefore knew to ask and was refunded her relocation costs and flight costs.
Our stories bring me to the purpose of this post. You may find, that your expectations for honesty, openness and competence from the medical staffing and recruitment teams are not always met. Therefore, you must equip yourself with the right knowledge to ensure that you’re doing the best for yourself. TTheseare a few tips below to guide you in your dealings.
- Salary – Is the salary scale you are being offered commensurate to your years of experience? Do not blindly accept the first offer that is made. Remember that it can be quite difficult to break out and earn higher once you start on a low salary rung. You can find this out but asking friends and colleagues what they earn. People are often reluctant to share these personal details but become more open if they know the reason you are asking
- Relocation costs- Reimbursement of relocation costs is usually available if you are moving from a different country. Depending on your level and where you are moving to within the country, it may also be available. Ask!
- If some money is due to you, process the payment and make sure it is paid. Follow it up! Sometimes this can be more stressful than you would imagine but you will find it rewarding when it gets paid
- Pay rises. These are usually scheduled and pre-determined. They usually happen around November in the NHS. As this blog is based on experience rather than research, you are going to have to do some work to find out if you are entitled to increments and when they should happen. Do not expect these conversations to be easy. Everyone wants to keep their expenditure lower even if it is unfair to you.
- Change of salary scale. In the event that you find out you are being underpaid, what do you do? Accept it and move on or request the appropriate pay? You should request your rightful pay. Remember that every new employer wants to know your previous salary so this is important. This is not an easy conversation and almost always ends up being a battle. Make sure you have the support of a Consultant because it will eventually need to be endorsed before it goes through.
I hope this helps. Do you have experiences you would like to share?
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