The Savvy IMG

Q&A time: Part 2 of The Savvy IMG’s first live online talk with Inspire Medics

Table of Contents

In Part 1, we had a link to our full live online talk with Inspire Medics and a summary of our key take home messages so help you on your journey to success and happiness in the UK.

Here in Part 2, we’ve listed all the questions we received during the question and answer segment of our session, with clarification of some of the answers plus links to further information. 

We hope you find this helpful!

View our full session with a summary of our talk and take-home messages in The Savvy IMG’s first live online talk with Inspire Medics – Part 1.

GMC registration & Foundation Programme questions

Q: Can you really apply for the Foundation Programme 1 year ahead before taking PLAB?

View the question & answer on YouTube

A: Yes, most of the time you have to because the application process for IMGs starts one year in advance.

If you only think about applying for the UK Foundation Programme after completing PLAB, then you will have most likely missed the application dates. This means you’d have to apply for the following year and have a delay in your career.

You can read more about it here:

Q: If my primary qualification is not from the same country of my nationality, will it affect my chances to get a job?

View the question & answer on YouTube

A: No. This doesn’t matter at all as long as your primary medical qualification is acceptable to the GMC.

Q: If you’re a British citizen, do you still have to take the IELTS?

View the question & answer on YouTube

A: Yes. Even if your medical education was in English, but English is not the official first and native language of that country, then you’d still have to IELTS or OET.

There are potentially some exceptions but generally the GMC go by the above rule.

You can read more here:

Locum work

Q: What are the pros and cons of working as a locum doctor?

View the question & answer on YouTube


  • Flexible work schedule – only work the shifts you want to.
  • Control over location – only work in the places you want to.
  • Higher pay for the same work compared to being an employee.
  • Potential to work in one department long-term if you work well with the team and they ask for you.


  • No employee benefits – no paid annual leave, sick leave, or other employee benefits.
  • No job security – there are lots of locum jobs available but there is no guarantee of your preferred types of work.
  • Sometimes you have to deal with seemingly pushy agents, but you learn a lot about good communication and negotiation skills.
  • Not an option for those who need a Tier 2 visa because most agencies cannot sponsor a visa.

Q: What specialties do you work in when you locum?

View the question & answer on YouTube

A: In the NHS I mostly work in surgery. In the private sector I work as an RMO (Resident Medical Officer) at an inpatient psychiatry facility.

Q: Did you feel confident going into locum work after graduation? Did you receive any training?

View the question & answer on YouTube

A: I already had 2 years of NHS experience before I started locum work so I did feel confident.

There is rarely any training working as a locum and we do not recommend it as a first job in the UK.

Read about suitable first jobs here:

Working in the UK

Q: You mentioned the mental fears of starting the NHS, any tips on how I can approach my first few weeks to ensure success?

View the question & answer on YouTube A: There are lots of factors that contribute to our fears of starting our first NHS job and feeling overwhelmed. It’s important to tackle each of these to get on top of things. You can read our top tips here: Also don’t forget that you’re not alone! There are thousands of IMGs in the FB communities to guide and support you along the way.

Ophthalmology related questions

Q: Which exam is required to get into Ophthalmology?

View the question & answer on YouTube

A: No exams are required for training jobs at ST1 or CT1 level training, but passing postgraduate exams usually help with your application score. For Ophthalmology it’s FRCOphth Part 1 and the Refraction Certificate. Again, it helps but it is not required.

However, exams are required for training jobs at ST3+ so for Ophthalmology, FRCOphth Part 1 is a strict requirement.

The Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) is required for entry to certain specialties at ST1 and CT1 level including Ophthalmology. However, it is not a professional exam that goes on your CV like MRCP or MRCS, it’s an entrance test that you take during the application process.

Read more about applying for specialty training here:

Q: What is the pathway for Ophthalmology in the UK

View the answer on YouTube

A: There are several pathways to become an Ophthalmologist in the UK depending on what your background is. You can view all the options here:

Q: Can you work as a Consultant Ophthalmologist in the UK if you have FRCS Ophthalmology?

View the question & answer on YouTube

A: It depends on the type of Consultant position.

You can work as a locum Consultant (temporary position) with FRCS Ophthalmology and the extensive experience.

You cannot work as a locum Consultant with FRCS Ophthalmology and some experience.

You cannot work as a substantive Consultant (permanent position) with FRCS Ophthalmology, even with the relevant extensive experience, unless you have Specialist Registration. If you have already trained overseas, you can get on the Specialist Register via the CESR or CESR-CP route.

You can read more about these routes here:

The team at I-Medics have tons of PLAB resources to help you pass your upcoming exam, even some free ones including their PLAB 1 question bank with over 2,500+ regularly updated questions. Check them out here.

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Meet the Team

Hi, we’re Drs Nick & Kimberly Tan, the two IMGs behind The Savvy IMG. We write comprehensive guides, create courses, and provide one-to-one guidance to help other overseas qualified doctors on their journey to the UK.
We have scoured the official guidance to put these posts together, but we can make mistakes! If you spot anything that is incorrect, please get in touch and we’ll put it right.
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