NHS Job Application Advice
If you have read the information below you may wish to go directly to our enquiry form.

There are many misconceptions surrounding medical work options in the UK. In an effort to dispel some of the myths, we have produced a brief overview of available work options in the United Kingdom. Whilst this is not intended as an exhaustive guide, our advice is to think carefully about what your objectives are before committing to a particular route. We are the only UK medical services provider run by doctors who can offer all options and will take the time to offer unbiased advice.

NHS locums

Still the most popular option - positive features include high hourly rate of pay, more socially acceptable hours than RMO work and the positive social environment i.e. working with other junior doctors of similar age, experience, etc. but not always the best option, financially or career-wise for those considering specialising in the UK as some consultants regard this as more detrimental on your CV than RMO work. Can be in various specialities, arranged at short notice, difficult to plan around and short term work -anything from two days to three months although a week or two is the norm.

Typically SHO locum pay varies between £18-£25 per hour before tax but not easy to get more than 56 hours a week (because of NHS regulatory reduction in doctors’ hours, the so-called New Deal). NHS locums will suit doctors who do not want to commit for a long period and resuscitation courses such as APLS and ACLS are not compulsory. Locums are easier if a doctor has access to a car although not essential. This can be a useful springboard into a NHS post.

The other drawback of NHS locums is that the work offered typically comes up at short notice and likewise, can be cancelled by the NHS at short notice. Overall, the vast majority of our NHS locums are offered to our off duty RMOs as we know that they are available regularly over the RMO contract period. As NHS hospitals prefer using the same locum where possible, many of our RMOs are used for repeat business.

Please also remember, hospitals offer locums to agencies because they cannot get any British doctors to fill the posts. As a general principle, the more locums available at a hospital, typically the worse the working conditions. In other words, there are good reasons why British people are not interested in the posts. Under the UK Department of Health Code of Practice introduced in late 2001, NHS hospitals should not be recruiting doctors from developing countries via commercial locum agencies.

NHS substantive posts

Probably the best option for those considering specialising/staying in the UK but it can be difficult to organise a job from outside the country, as the candidate doctor is not available for interview. Going through an agency has its pitfalls as firstly, NHS hospitals should not be recruiting doctors from developing countries. Also, these jobs can be cancelled at short notice. NHS hospitals typically offer jobs to NHS locum agencies when their normal channels of recruitment have failed i.e. the job is unpopular for some reason and a lot of these jobs are not recognised for training purposes by the Royal colleges. This is a vital point if you are considering writing MRCP/MRCS, etc as time spent in a non-recognised post will not be credited to you in terms of required experience in the relevant speciality. Although we offer substantive posts to doctors outside the UK, we cannot guarantee the posts and the late confirmation often associated with these type of jobs.

For substantive training posts, competition can be intense and the required standard of applications CVs is much higher than that required for RMO work and NHS locums. Consequently all our RMOs will have their CVs reviewed and updated by ourselves and RMOs will have one to one career counselling in respect of NHS career paths, etc, including practice interviews, exam planning, etc.

RMO (private sector)

RMOs cover private hospital for emergencies; ACLS, APLS and medical indemnity cover are compulsory requirements. See RMO page for further information.

This option is better for those who want definite high income (more than NHS locums) and for those who like us to organise everything for them. Best also for married couples/friends who wish to travel in their off weeks.


Our job is to ensure that you understand how the medical system works and hopefully ensure that you make fully informed choices in respect of your career. In addition, with so many UK hospitals and companies currently chasing foreign doctors, increasingly we are noting confusion as to what people should do, who they should go through, etc. The standard of advice varies tremendously but at the end of the day, Cape Medical is the only UK service provider run by a doctor where you can get impartial advice and where you will leave with a specific, personalised career plan.

Also available are reference information that you may wish to pass on to your referees (Using References Appropriately,2002) for those doctors who are considering a substantive NHS training posts after their RMO jobs, this information will ensure that training posts completed outside of the UK will be recognised by the relevant UK Royal College. College recognition will enable doctors will go into the NHS at the correct (i.e. higher) salary level. Improving your CV contains vital information on how to adapt your CV for NHS substantive posts. This is essential reading for all doctors who have come to the UK through other agencies as typically these agencies will provide templates which, while acceptable for RMO work, are unsuitable for NHS substantive posts.

We are still the only medical service provider in the UK that offers free one to one career briefing and counselling for all employees.

Would you like to go on to our enquiry form?




Email Cape Medical Services

Merevale House, 27 Sansome Walk, Worcester, WR1 1NU United Kingdom
+44 (0)1905 617 611 +44 (0)1905 731 511


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