Working in the NHS

The National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest employers in the world, and is the biggest in Europe, with over 1.3 million staff. Here at, we’ve helped hundreds of nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals across the world understand and connect with the world’s biggest healthcare system.

For the NHS a typical day includes:

over 835,000 people visiting their GP practice or practice nurse
almost 50,000 people visiting accident and emergency departments
49,000 outpatient consultations
94,000 people admitted to hospital as an emergency admission
36,000 people in hospital for planned treatment

The NHS offers a huge range of exciting and challenging opportunities for people who are passionate about making a difference. With more than 300 different careers on offer, there is a job for you no matter what your interests, skills or qualifications.

No matter what area of the NHS you join, you will become part of a talented, passionate team of people committed to providing the best care and treatment to patients. You will also enjoy one of the most competitive and flexible benefits packages offered by any employer in the UK.

Contact Global Health Jobs

If you’re thinking about working in the NHS and you live overseas, Global Health Jobs can help.

We have been helping doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and clinical researchers across the world find the best health work opportunities. With being the main career resource for International Health, if you are looking for assistance working in healthcare -anywhere in world- then we can help.

To see how we may be able to assist with your next work opportunity, please get in touch

NB: Only health professionals who match the qualifying criteria and who are fully committed to completing the recruitment, training and development processes are encouraged to get in touch

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Do you need a visa to work in the NHS?

If you are not a British citizen, a national of a country in the EEA or Switzerland, you will need permission from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)  to work in the UK and may also need entry clearance before you travel to the UK. UKVI is responsible for managing migration in the UK; to obtain a visa or entry clearance, you will need to meet its requirements. Find out more about the immigration rules.

The Home Office is responsible for governing the way individuals from outside the EEA can work, train or study in the UK. Further information for all new applications from non-EEA nationals can be found on the points-based system page of this website.


Is there a limit on the number of non-EEA nationals entering the UK to work?

Yes, there is currently a limit on the number of migrants allowed to enter the UK to work. Applications are assessed using a points system that is intended to only allow entry to those whose skills will benefit the UK. The number of points required, and the way the points are awarded, depend on the category under which individuals apply, but will reflect their qualifications, experience, age, previous earnings and language competence.

Under the points-based system, UKVI will decide who is admitted to, or allowed to stay in, the UK. Information about the points system is available on the UKVI website and may be subject to change. You are advised to check the website to establish which route of entry you are eligible to apply for.

The UKVI points calculator was put out of service on 10 April 2016, please visit the visas and immigration page for more information on the points based system and eligibility.

If you decide to look for a job in the NHS, you should try to find out a few things before making your applications:

  • What training there will be (some employers offer training programmes and apprenticeships)
  • What opportunities are there for progression
  • Whether you can gain qualifications through the workplace, or through part-time study or distance learning

The best place to find jobs in the NHS is the NHS Jobs website. There are on average around 25,000 vacancies advertised every month, and you’ll regularly find thousands advertised every day.

Pay and conditions

Everyone who joins the NHS is guaranteed a salary that matches their ability and responsibilities and given every opportunity to increase it through training and development.

The NHS pay system, known as Agenda for Change (AfC), applies to all staff except doctors, dentists, and very senior managers. Benefits include:

  • A standard working week of 37.5 hours
  • Pay enhancements to reward out of hours, shift and overtime working
  • Holiday entitlement of 27 days a year, plus eight general and public holidays. This rises to 33 days after 10 years of service
  • Better career and pay progression based on the application of knowledge and skills
  • Annual personal development reviews to support career aspirations -

Helping you find the right work-life balance

The NHS recognises the importance of a healthy balance between work and life. The Improving Working Lives (IWL) initiative was introduced in 2000 and has helped bring about a real culture change within the NHS – reducing stress, increasing motivation, and improving productivity among staff. Flexible working means that:

  • Part time roles and job-share opportunities are often available, as well as term-time only, evening and weekend positions
  • The NHS may also be able to help with childcare, including nursery care, after school clubs and emergency care
  • If you are studying for a qualification, raising a family, or juggling other responsibilities, we will do everything we can to combine these commitments with your work
  • Many people in the NHS take an extended break to look after young children or other dependents who need special care
  • You will also have access to occupational health services, such as counselling

Fulfil your potential

The NHS is committed to offering learning and development opportunities for all full-time and part-time employees. No matter where you start within the NHS, you will have access to extra training and be given every chance to progress within the organisation.

You will receive an annual personal review and development plan to support your career progression, and you’ll be encouraged to progress through the Knowledge and Skills Framework.


Working as a nurse

Nurses and midwives who have trained outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and want to work in the UK as a nurse or midwife must gain professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Applicants are tested for competence through a two-part process to gain registration. 

Part one – computer-based multiple choice examination which is accessible around the world for applicants to access in their home countries.

Part two – practical objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) which will always be held in the UK.

The immigration rules changed in March 2015 to allow for an individual nurse to come to the UK to prepare for the OSCE.   

Adult nursing is a rewarding career where you have a real chance to make a difference to people’s lives. As part of your training, you can expect to learn new skills and procedures that help patients. 

Why choose adult nursing

There are many reasons why you should consider a career as an adult nurse. It offers you the chance to make a difference, a high degree of flexibility and a career with excellent employment prospects.

How to become an adult nurse

To become an adult nurse you’ll need to train and study at a degree level. Entry requirements vary depending on where you’d like to study. You can find an adult nursing course to suit you using the NHS Course Finder tool.


Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers. Adult nurses in the NHS will usually start at band 5 and work standard hours of 37.5 per week. With further experience, training and qualifications, they can apply for posts up to band 9 in the most senior roles. Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS.


Where can I find information specific to my profession?

We have developed information unique to specific healthcare professionals from overseas:

The NHS is divided into a series of organisations.

NHS England

NHS England monitors the performance of the NHS nationally and supports commissioning (the planning and ordering of services) locally.

NHS Improvement

NHS Improvement monitors the performance of NHS hospitals.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)

CCGs are run by GPs and other local healthcare professionals who assess local health needs and commission the services to meet them. There are more than 160 CCGs in England.

NHS acute or foundation trusts

NHS acute or foundation trusts provide the hospital, out-patient and other services commissioned by CCGs to meet local population needs.

Ambulance trusts

Ambulance trusts provide respond to 999 calls to provide emergency health services, transport patients, and provide out-of-hours care in some areas.

Mental health trusts

Mental health trusts provide specialist care for people with complex and severe mental health problems.

Care trusts

Care trusts co-ordinate health and social care services for individual users.

Local primary care services

Local primary care services are provided through GP practices, NHS Walk-in Centres, dental practices, pharmacists and opticians.

111 phone service

The 111 phone service is responsible for providing healthcare advice and information 24 hours a day via the internet and over the telephone.

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