There are a lot of them, since this seems to be quite a big market. A simple Google search will reveal the better known.
Anyway, here’s what you should look for in such a company (beyond commitment, seriousness, professionalism obviously):
- are they taking an at least mild personal interest in your future well-being as an RMO for them? Meaning: are they going to try to go the extra distance to make your life easier, will they really care if you miss your plane back home and try to prevent that the next time?
- will they pay some travelling expenses? Do they cover other expenses? Are they able to deal with the GMC properly in your behalf? Or to the Home Office?
- will they sweeten the contract with a nice completion bonus?
- do they include holiday pay?
- do they include penalties for premature ending of your contract (they should not)?
As I’ve explained in the previous chapter, the Resident Medical Officer is that doctor that actually lives within a private UK hospital, 24/7, amounting to a total of 168 work hours per week.
In order to be able to work over the 40 hours week regulation, he/she would have to renounce that particular right and have his/her time off in separate, free weeks.
Most of the doctors currently employed as RMOs are from outside the UK. Traditionally, the South African doctors are the ones filling this posts, having the great advantage of English as their second language. Recruiting companies are also employing doctors from Europe, nowadays a lot of the doctors come from Greece, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and more recently Romania and Bulgaria. In fact, any doctor that holds full GMC registration is able to undertake RMO work.
As an RMO you will deal with some special people:
- people from the RMO company that employs you; they are supposed to take care of you and be your best friends here, in the UK
- the RMOs you take over from and you turn over to when you finish your week
- the matron/clinical lead at the hospital you work at; she (or he) will be your most direct liaison with the hospital
- the nurses at your hospital; they are key to your performance in that setting and you should always try to befriend them and listen to their advice
- the consultants; they are the top level professionals there and you’ll look after their patients when they are not there; they are the ones you will ask for guidance whenever one of their patients presents with issues that are beyond your competences as an RMO
This varies with the hospital you work at, but you would typically be paid about £1500-£1700 per week worked, before tax and National Insurance (NI).
After tax and NI you would be left with something between £1100-£1200 per week worked. Assuming you work a two weeks on – one week off rota, you would work three weeks per calendar month, so you will earn an after tax average of about £3300-£3600 per calendar month in which you work three weeks. This would be the equivalent of 4000-4500 Euro. Notably, you can calculate that your hourly rate is about £7, which is actually very low for a physician. So you are not well payed, you earn a lot because you amount a lot of hours. Also, rest assured: you definitely won’t actually work for 24 hours a day.
Due to their very particular working schedule, involving working 168 hours per week (which is to say working 24 hours daily, 7 days), the RMO working pattern involves weeks on-duty and off-duty.
The most popular pattern appears to be two weeks on, followed by one week off. Some companies are able to arrange different rotas, such as the reverse of the previous one or one week on, one week off etc..
What is an RMO?
RMO stands for Resident Medical Officer, which means, well, just what is says: the RMO is the doctor that actually lives inside the hospital, 24/7, and provides medical care for inpatients, outpatients and sometimes staff and visitors, as he is the primary emergency aid in that facility.
RMOs traditionally work in some private hospitals in the UK, which are required to have an RMO on the premises at all times, day and night, workdays, weekends and holidays. Usually, an RMO works in a surgical hospital, caring for patients undergoing operations, but there are some psychiatric hospitals also.