Working as a Consultant in the UK

Working as a consultant in the UK includes a number of competencies beyond taking care of patients.

  1. Clinical skills. You are expected to lead a team of junior doctors, and set the overall direction of the care of the patient. You are responsible for medical and social care, liaising with different teams, medical nursing, and social to finally discharge the patient to the most appropriate  discharge destination. You will be expected to provide the highest standard of care adhering to local and national guidelines. You can deviate from guidelines but should be able to justify to your peers about deviation from accepted standard of care.
  2. Leadership. You have to show leadership and many doctors find the balance of leadership and team working skills a difficult tightrope to walk. It takes several years of experience to get this skill to earn respect of various teams. A flattened hierarchy poses challenges for the newly appointed consultant.
  3. A good manager. Change is expected in the NHS and often as leader you will have to manage change. Management skills is highly valued as a consultant.
  4. Teaching and Training. All NHS hospitals are teaching hospitals and you will be expected to teach appraise, coach and guide others in your tem team.
  5. Research : You will be expected to take on commercial/ academic research and develop the research activities at the Trust.

Becoming a Consultant

UK Graduates become consultants after a minimum of 10 years of training. So you need that length of experience before you will be accepted as consultant. Private hospital work is unlikely to qualify for this and you will need to have demonstrated a high degree of academic activity including publishing papers, audits, mortality reviews,  annual appraisals and personal development plans (PDP). If you think that you will walk into an academic post (if you apply for it) at Agha Khan University Hospital, Trivandrum Medical College,  JIPMER, CMC Vellore, then you are likely to be consultant material in the UK and we will support your application for consultant.



Salary scales are published on the BMA website. In hand after tax, national insurance and deductions, you will get around £5000. A good proportion of your salary will go towards Housing loan (mortgage), Car expenses and bills (Gas, Telephone, Electricity, council tax). You will be able to travel to your home country once or twice a year.. Private schooling expenses will be substantial if you send children to private school (£750/- per child) but good state schools are available.


You will get 32 working days of annual leave per year. In addition there are 8 national holidays ( Bank Holidays). You will get 10 days of study leave per year along with £500 – £750 budget for maintain your clinical and academic skills.

Working pattern.

The working day is usually from 8 AM to 6 PM Monday to Friday. You will have to do 8.5 clinical sessions (outpatient/ ward work). Each clinical session is a 4 hour block. In the remaining 1.5 sessions, you will need to do your academic work, teaching, training, maintain your portfolio and keep up to date.

On Call rota. You will be expected to be on the on-call rota taking telephone calls from home when you are on call and coming in to review patients if your expertise is required. This is usually a 1 in 8 or 1 in 10 frequency.