Relocating to London

Blog: Relocating to London by Dr Patrick Quinn

Thinking about moving to the big smoke after you qualify? Dr Patrick Quinn gave us 5 top tips for any medical student considering relocating to London.

After qualifying from Keele Medical School, Patrick moved to Chelsea and Westminster for his F1 placement. With so much of the application process completed online, starting a job in London felt quite abstract. Once accepted, there were lots of practical things Patrick realised he needed to do, and it felt like an almost insurmountable challenge. He offers some great advice to make the process more manageable for medical students thinking of doing the same.

Ask for help
You are going to need lots of questions answered, and lots of advice, so it’s important that you don’t try to tackle this alone. You’ll be busy with your studies at medical school and planning for your F1 can feel overwhelming, and lots of things will need to come together at the last minute. Make sure you ask people around you for help! If you know other medical students at a University close to your assigned hospital, they may have some helpful advice for you.

Get connected
Look for online forums and Facebook groups so that you can connect with others looking to make the move, or those who already have. There may be a foundation programme group from your deanery, which is a great way to find new housemates or meet others who will be doing their placement in the same hospital or somewhere locally to you. F1 doctors who have already made the move may have some helpful pointers for you, so chat to friends or even your University to get in touch with alumni.

Choose your location carefully
When deciding where to live, it is important to consider the trade-off between the cost of your accommodation and the cost of your commute. Again, getting advice from those living in London already is great here, especially F1 doctors who have made the move and the travel into work already. Try marking out a radius from the hospital to the farthest distance you’d be willing to commute, and choose a few suitable locations within.

Try before you buy
After taking on lots of advice from others, heading down to London to have an explore is a great way to make your own mind up. Places that are close geographically can have a different vibe, so it’s important to go and get a feel for the place. If you choose to rent initially, you’ll have the freedom to move for your F2 if you wish!

Plan your finances
London can be an expensive place to live, and it is important that you don’t take on more financial commitments than you can afford. Work out how much money you’ll have coming in from your pay packet after your tax, NI and student loan deductions – there are online tools that will do the maths for you! Remember you’ll be paying council tax now you’re no longer a student, and it can be steep in London. Once all of your essential expenses have been accounted for you, you’ll know exactly how much money you have to spend on exciting things like enjoying your new city!