Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Nigerian Doctor: 8 things you should know before coming to practise inthe UK


In my previous post, we talked about certain benefits a Nigerian Doctor could gain from coming to practise in the UK. As doctors continue to leave Nigeria in droves, it is important they get some information lest while building castles in the air, they're shocked by the reality of life in the UK. Dear Nigerian doctor and any intending migrant, here are some facts you must know before coming to the UK.

1.    The salary advertised, though quite attractive is your gross salary. Meaning, it includes your portion and the Government's portion. There will be tax, national insurance and pension deductions before you get your net pay. Also, NHS usually advertises a range. You are more likely to be started on the lowest scale except you have proof of extra relevant qualification and/or experience which you must bargain for.

2.    You cannot run away from tax. The higher you earn, the more income tax you pay. Apart from tax on your income, you also pay tax when you buy a car, buy or rent a house. Don’t worry, you will see what your tax is being used for e.g National Health Service, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, housing benefits, mental health services, drug and alcohol services, etc... just that you may not jump for joy. Take it that you are contributing to a better society.

3.    Nothing is free. You don't enjoy 24-hour power supply at no cost. You pay for electricity, gas, WiFi, phone, TV, water, parking, etc. When you are invited to hang out with your friends, please go with your wallet. This is not Nigeria where the host buys all the drinks. Here you take care of yourself. 

4.    It is a serious offence to drive without a driver's licence or beyond the specified speed limit even if you're the Lewis Hamilton of Nigeria. You will need to unlearn some of your driving habits (e.g the unnecessary use of car horn) and take on new ones to be considered fit for the road. You could drive with an international driving licence but it has a one year validity. In the end, you still have to go through a driving school, get used to the road rules and right-hand drive and pass your driving tests.

5.   Car insurance is compulsory. You must have at least a third party cover. Your car insurance quote could be costlier than the price of your car. You cannot drive someone's car unless you are listed as an additional driver in their insurance policy. Similarly, if someone else were to drive your car, they must be covered by your insurance.

6.    You thought Nigeria’s weather was too hot? Wait till you detest the opposite so much you start longing for home. It is here you understand what it means to say that the basic needs of man are food, shelter and clothing. I never understood how clothing made the list until I came to the UK.

7.    Be prepared for a culture shock. You don’t address a man and a woman automatically as man and wife, it’s them and their partner as it is very common for couples to dwell together unmarried. Do not be surprised to see two adults kissing in public. There may be lifestyles that are in conflict with your beliefs - the kind you didn’t have to deal with back home. 

8.    Complaints and litigation are more common here than in Nigeria. Make sure you have a professional indemnity cover wherever you practise. Protect yourself. Use chaperones for private examinations. Document properly. You will be taught all about empathy and interpersonal skills during your PLAB 2 course. Learn it and stick with it. 


Here are some myths to debunk from your brain:

WiFi is not free. It is just widely accessible. Having access to WiFi might not make you smarter. You are more likely to spend it on Netflix. Having 24-hr power might not make you more productive. After the first day, you get used to it.


So while you might be making plans to leave your country, think about what you are going to encounter at the other end of the river.

Are you in the UK, please share in the comment section, your greatest shock or what you wish you had known before coming.



Radiant ~ April 2019