- Specialty Food Shops
- Registering with a GP
- Schools and Early Learning
- Opening a Bank Account
- Starting Salary
- Indemnity Insurance
- Staff Benefits
- Tourism and Activities in Forth Valley
- Scottish Words and Scots Language
- Weights and Measurements
We unfortunately find that IMGs struggle to secure longer term lets before they have arrived in the UK, collected their BRP and have opened a UK bank account. As such, you may need to initially stay in a local hotel or Airbnb until you have the required documents.
You should note that NHS Forth Valley has no hospital accommodation. In addition, we cannot act as guarantor nor make approaches to estate agents or letting agents on your behalf. We can provide references to confirm your offer of employment, however this may not be with a finalised salary (please see salary information section for more information).
You can search for properties to rent in the local area on this link. This is a search configured for all properties available to rent within 10 miles (16 kilometres) of Forth Valley Royal Hospital. If you wish to use an alternative site to search, the postcode of the hospital is FK5 4WR.
The main towns and cities in the Forth Valley area are Falkirk, Stirling and Alloa. All of these are connected to Larbert by train and bus, please see transport section for more information. Other towns within the Forth Valley area such as Camelon, Bridge of Allan, Dunblane, Grangemouth, Denny, Bonnybridge and Bo’ness are also connected to Forth Valley Royal by bus or train.
Forth Valley Royal is also commutable from towns in neighbouring areas such as Lanarkshire and West Lothian by bus and train, however the journey may require connections.
Forth Valley Royal is located close to the M876 motorway and can be accessed easily by car from all towns within the Forth Valley area and neighbouring localities. The NHS Forth Valley website contains information on directions and car parking.
If you intend to commute by car, the application form for the staff car park can be found on the above link. In addition to the staff car park, there is a car park known as the “purple car park” that is open for staff with no permit to park in. Spaces in this car park are “first come, first served”. Parking in the patient car park at the front of the hospital is not permitted for staff members.
You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence for 12 months from when you became resident. After 12 months you will need to apply for a provisional licence and first pass a theory test and then a practical driving test to continue to drive in Great Britain.
The Hospital is well connected to the local area by bus, with less frequent services from further afield such as Glasgow and Fife. There are dedicated bus stops located just outside the main entrance.
Buses in the Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire areas are run by Midland Bluebird and timetables can be found here. If you intend to commute from these areas by bus, it is worth noting that weekly and monthly tickets are available, offering a saving on the regular daily prices. Buses accept contactless card payments and cash, however please note that high value notes (£20 and above) may be declined.
Buses from the Fife and Glasgow areas are operated by Stagecoach and timetables can be found here.
If commuting by bus it is worth following the bus operators on social media to be advised of delays and cancellations to services.
The closest train station to Forth Valley Royal Hospital is Larbert. The station is serviced by Scotrail trains, with departures from Dunblane, Glasgow and Edinburgh running up to every 30 minutes. Trains from Stirling can be more frequent than this, with some services originating from destinations in the North also calling at Larbert en route to Glasgow or Edinburgh.
There are direct trains to Larbert from the following stations in the local area: Stirling, Camelon, Falkirk Grahamston, Polmont, Linlithgow, Bridge of Allan, Dunblane, Alloa. Timetables, departure information and tickets can be found here.
If you intend to commute by train you should note that weekly, monthly and annual tickets are available, offering a discount over the fare payable on the day. Tickets should be purchased before departure as you will be charged a “peak” fare regardless of the time of day you are travelling if you do not buy before you board. This does not apply for stations with no working ticket machine.
The walking route to Forth Valley Royal Hospital suggested by Google Maps is approximately a 15 – 20 minute walk (0.7 miles or 1.1 kilometres) however there is a quicker way not mentioned on mapping services. There is also a bus stop located very near the exit of the station (Muirhall Road) where you can take bus 6 or 7 to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
We have linked to the Google Maps entries of the major supermarkets within the Forth Valley area and given opening times. Opening times can vary on public holidays.
Much like every country, there are price variations between supermarkets. As a general guide:
- Lower price – Aldi, Lidl
- Mid price – Asda, Tesco
- Higher price – Marks & Spencer’s, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose
Farmfoods, Iceland and Food Warehouse offer lower prices on bulk buys but can be more expensive than other supermarkets for individual items.
There are also a plentiful number of convenience stores in the Forth Valley area, and you will doubtless find one close to wherever you stay. Brands to look out for include Co-op, Nisa, USave, McColl’s, Costcutter, Premier Stores, Londis, Spar. There are also independent stores that may use the term “Newsagents” or “Off-licence” to describe the business rather than convenience store.
- Asda – 07:00 – 22:00 every day
- Farmfoods – 08:00 – 21:00 Monday to Saturday, 09:00 – 19:00 Sunday
- Food Warehouse – 08:00 – 21:00 Monday to Saturday, Sunday 08:00 – 20:00
- Lidl – 08:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 08:00 – 21:00 Sundays
- Marks & Spencer Foodhall – 08:00 – 21:00 Monday to Saturday, Sunday 08:00 – 19:00
- Morrisons – 07:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 08:00 – 20:00 Sundays
- Tesco – 06:00 – 24:00 every day
- Aldi – 08:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 09:00 – 20:00 Sundays
- Tesco – 07:00 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday, 08:00 – 22:00 Sundays
Bainsford and Carron
- Lidl – 08:00 – 21:00 Monday to Saturday, 08:00 – 20:00 Sundays
Larbert and Stenhousemuir
- Iceland – 09:00 – 19:00 Monday to Saturday, 10:00 – 17:00 Sunday
- Sainsbury’s – 07:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 08:00 – 21:00 Sunday
Polmont, Redding, Westquarter
- Farmfoods – 08:00 – 20:00 Monday to Saturday, 09:00 – 18:00 Sunday
- Lidl – 08:00 – 20:00 every day
- Tesco – 07:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 09:00 – 20:00 Sunday
- Aldi – 08:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 09:00 – 20:00 Sunday
- Lidl – 08:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 08:00 – 20:00 Sunday
- Sainsbury’s – 07:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 08:00 – 22:00 Sunday
- Tesco – 07:00 – 24:00 every day
- Waitrose – 08:00 – 21:00 Monday to Friday, 08:00 – 20:00 Saturday, 09:00 – 20:00 Sunday
St. Ninians and Bannockburn
- Lidl – 08:00 – 21:00 Monday to Saturday, 08:00 – 20:00 Sunday
Bridge of Allan and Dunblane
- Marks and Spencer Simply Food – 08:00 – 20:00 Monday to Saturday, 09:00 – 18:00 Sunday
- Tesco – 07:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 09:00 – 18:00 Sunday
- Aldi – 08:00 – 22:00 every day
- Asda – 07:00 – 22:00 every day
- Lidl – 08:00 – 22:00 every day
- Morrisons – 07:00 – 22:00 Monday to Saturday, 08:00 – 20:00 Sunday
Specialty Food Shops
There are a handful of shops in our local area that offer foods, drinks and other products from a wide range of cultures and countries. Ideal for expanding your horizons, or for a little reminder of home:
- Thistle Foods – Etna Road, Falkirk. Wholesaler that is also open to the general public, stocking food and other products from Asia, with a focus on India and Pakistan. 10:30 – 19:00 every day except Friday, when opening times are 10:30 – 13:15, then 14:45 – 19:00
- Little Asia – 196 Grahams Road, Falkirk. Food shop that sells a wide range of imported products including fruits. Sells halal produce. Open 10:00 – 19:00 Monday to Saturday and 11:00 – 18:00 Sundays
- Malik Halal Food Store – 101 Barnton Street Stirling. Offers East Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Arabic food and products as well as fresh produce and halal meats*. 10:00 – 19:00 every day.
- Sun Wah Mini-Mart – 35 Barnton Street, Stirling. Offers food and other products from China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. 11:00 – 19:00 every day
- The Honest Shop – 34 Cowane Street, Stirling. Sells East Asian food and products. 11:00 – 19:00 every day
- Skierscy Polish Goods and Bakery – 232 Grahams Road Falkirk and 97 Barnton Street, Stirling. Offers a wide range of products from Eastern and Central Europe, including a wide selection of Eastern European style baking and fresh meats. 10:00 – 19:00 Wednesday to Saturday, 11:00 – 17:00 Sundays and Mondays
- U Paździocha – 42 Barnton Street, Stirling. Family run business that offers fresh vegetables and meats as well as a wider assortment of goods from Eastern and Central Europe. 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Thursday, 07:00 – 19:00 Friday, 09:00 – 17:30 Saturday, 11:00 – 16:00 Sunday
- Pantry – 52 Cow Wynd, Falkirk. Delicatessen that sells fresh Eastern European style baking, a wide range of Eastern and Central European meats, wider food and drink products from Eastern and Central Europe as well as press and magazines. 10:00 – 19:00 Monday to Friday, 10:00 – 18:00 Saturday, 11:00 – 17:00 Sunday
- Buon apetito – 202 Grahams Road, Falkirk. Delicatessen and café that offers authentic Italian pasta dishes, paninis, meats and cheeses that can be consumed on site or taken away to enjoy at home. There is also a modest selection of other Italian products available to purchase and take away. 10:00 – 17:30 Monday
* Many take-aways in the Forth Valley area selling South Asian cuisine (generally sold under a catch all term of “Indian”) use halal meats in their dishes. This will generally be specified on the take-away’s website, social media, or on food ordering apps however you may need to contact the establishment directly to confirm if meat used is halal.
Pharmacists are able to offer free treatment for a range of common health conditions without the need for a prescription.
There are numerous pharmacies in the Forth Valley Area, which can provide a range of medicines without prescription (for a cost) or prescribe certain medicines following consultation with the pharmacist.
The NHS Forth Valley website has a very helpful map for finding your nearest pharmacy, with directions and opening times included.
Registering with a GP
General Practices offer a wide range of healthcare services and support from a range of disciplines within the team. This includes mental health nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, advanced nurse practitioners and of course, General Practitioners.
To register with a General Practice please visit this link for more information and to download the application form for your local practice.
General Practices can also be referred to interchangeably as Surgeries, GPs and Health Centres.
To find your nearest General Practice, you can visit the service finder on the NHS Forth Valley website.
Schools and Early Learning
If you moving to Scotland with children between the ages of 5 – 16, it is a requirement that your child be provided with an education.
The application process to enrol your child into school is handled by the local authority of the area in which you reside. You should note that you may need to provide proof of residency in the council area as part of the process.
For children under the age of 5, there is the option of enrolling your child in early learning. This may also be referred to interchangeably as pre-school or nursery. You can read more via this link. When your child is aged 3 and 4, you can get 600 hours of free early learning and childcare a year however beside this, enrolment is very likely to cost.
Opening a Bank Account
Payroll teams unfortunately don’t have the ability to pay your salary into a bank account registered outside the UK. You will need to open an account with a UK based bank in order to receive your first pay. Akin to securing a rental property, most traditional high street banks will require some documents from you that you may not have when you first arrive.
The Savvy IMG has some very useful hints and tips for opening your first account and we would recommend you read this article.
The experience at NHS Forth Valley suggests it is much easier to open an account with an online only bank than a high street one.
Online Only Banks
We often hear that these online banks limit the amount of money that can be transferred overseas, or charge higher fees for transfers and this is something you may want to be mindful of if you intend to send money back home. These banks also often have a cash withdrawal limit, which is something you should also be mindful of if you intend to use cash as primary means of payment. The vast majority of stores and businesses will accept card payments.
You can always update your bank details for payroll at a later date, so you may want to consider opening an online account at least initially.
High Street Banks
For high street banks, we have found that requirements vary significantly between banks.
Royal Bank of Scotland seems to be one of the easier Banks to open an account with, with previous IMGs having been able to open accounts with a lesser number of documents than competitors. There are branches in Falkirk and Stirling.
Other banks with branches in the local area include:
- Bank of Scotland with branches in Falkirk , Stirling and Alloa
- Barclays with a branch in Stirling
- HSBC with a branch in Stirling
- Nationwide with branches in Falkirk and Stirling
- Santander with branches in Falkirk and Stirling
- TSB with branches in Falkirk and Stirling and Alloa
- Virgin Money with branches in Falkirk and Stirling
- Yorkshire Building Society with a branch in Alloa
We would recommend you contact your bank of choice in advance of arranging an appointment for opening an account to discuss what documents they require. If a contract is required, please note that contracts are usually issued towards the end of August or the start of September for training grades, to allow our payroll team to collate previous service from those transferring within Scotland. For career grade posts, contracts are issued within 8 weeks of your start date. We can write references to confirm employment meantime.
As a minimum, you will start on the lowest salary point for the payscale applicable to your post, the value for which will have been included in your offer letter. It is possible for posts undertaken outside the UK to be considered for additional credit on the payscale, provided the posts were at an equivalent level or higher to the post you are entering:
- FY1 – posts at FY1 level and above
- FY2 – posts at FY2 level and above
- CDF – posts at ST1 / CT1 level and above
- ST1 / CT1 / IMT1 – posts at ST1 / CT1 level and above
- ST3 – Posts at ST3 level and above
- Specialty Doctor – posts at ST3 / CT3 level and above
- Specialist Doctor – posts at specialist doctor level, general practitioner or above
- Consultant – posts at consultant level
For any posts you want assessed for equivalency, we will require the following documents from you per post:
- Job description, role descriptor, person specification or another document that outlines the duties of the post. A reference from a previous supervisor or colleague can be accepted
- A contract, offer letter, letter from your HR department at the employer or a similar document that confirms the dates claimed in your application
These documents should be translated into English if applicable.
Once the documents are received, the document outlining the duties of the post will be forwarded to a Clinical Director, Associate Medical Director or another member of clinical management for them to compare to UK service. The decision of the reviewer is final.
Full years of credit to be awarded will see your salary point or seniority point (depending on the payscale) increase by the same number of years. Part years of credit will bring your incremental date forward, meaning you will move to the next salary or seniority point earlier.
The starter checklist you fill out as part of your pre-employment documentation helps place you on the correct tax code, however it does not eliminate the possibility of being placed on an emergency tax code. Payroll teams must apply the code given to them by the tax office (His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, HMRC) and do not have flexibility to alter.
If you are placed on an emergency tax code, your payslip will show one of: 1257 W1 , 1257 M1 , 1257 X
To rectify this, you must contact HMRC directly. Employers cannot do this on your behalf, the enquiry must arrive from the person to whom the enquiry relates. Methods of contacting HMRC are outlined via this link.
The day you are paid on is generally the last Thursday of the month. Depending on your employer (if not NHS Forth Valley) and your bank, there may be variances of a day either way.
You are normally covered by the NHS Hospital and Community Health Services indemnity against claims of medical negligence. However, in certain circumstances (especially in respect of service for which you receive a separate fee) you may not be covered by the indemnity. NHS Forth Valley therefore advise you to maintain membership of a medical defence organisation.
Working for the NHS entitles you to a number of benefits and discounts on a wide range of goods and services across Scotland and beyond.
NHS Staff Benefits, NHS Discount Offers and Blue Light Card are discount programmes that give discounts on a wide range of services all over the UK. Please note that Blue Light Card charges a membership fee of £4.99 every two years. You will also need to provide proof of NHS employment via a payslip or ID badge for some schemes and thus may need to wait until you have joined NHS Forth Valley to sign up.
There are also numerous local businesses in the Forth Valley area that provide discounts for NHS Forth Valley members of staff, a full list can be found here, however please note this link can only be accessed from a NHS Forth Valley connection.
Tourism and Activities in Forth Valley
Forth Valley has a surprising number of cultural, historical, recreation and family friendly sites and activities to enjoy in your leisure time.
There are dedicated websites for tourism in the Forth Valley area:
- Visit Falkirk gives information on the attractions, parks and activities in Falkirk and the surrounding area. There is a section for family friendly activities and for sports and active pursuits. The site also keeps a calendar of events happening in the Falkirk area.
- YourStirling similarly gives information on the most popular attractions, walking and cycling activities, a calendar of local events and activities and attractions that are available free of charge. Of possible interest, there is a Stirling Pass available that allows discounted entry to Stirling’s main attractions and also provides discounts for local businesses. There is also a new Augmented Reality app to allow you to “see Stirling like you never have before”
- Discover Clackmannanshire has information on activities to see and do in the Clackmannanshire area and the Clackmannanshire Council website has some more information on outdoors activities, tourist and historical sites.
Being very centrally located, the Forth Valley area is well connected to the rest of Scotland, with good road and rail links to all major towns and cities. VisitScotland is the official website for the tourist board in Scotland and showcases a wide range of activities available all over Scotland.
Hill walking is a particularly popular leisure pursuit among medical members of staff and with its central location and proximity to the Trossachs and highlands, Forth Valley allows excellent access to this activity. Walkhighlands is a good resource for discovering hill walks, hikes and walking routes both in your local area and further afield with detailed routes, maps and photographs provided.
Scottish Words and Scots Language
The English spoken in Scotland and the Scottish accents are different from what you would have heard while learning English and in popular media. You will also likely encounter Scots language words used in everyday conversation.
This webpage run by University of Stirling has an extensive list of Scots words and also provides some information on pronunciation and the origins of Scottish family and place names.
To help acclimatise to Scottish accents, you may wish to consider listening to Scottish radio stations. Central FM is the local commercial radio station serving the Forth Valley area. BBC Radio Scotland is a primarily talk focused station run by the national broadcaster. Links to other stations originating in Scotland can be found here.
You may also want to consider seeking out Scottish content creators on YouTube, TikTok and on other social media networks as another method.
Weights and Measurements
The UK – and thereby Scotland – tends to use some imperial measurements in tandem with or in more common use than the metric system.
Weight may sometimes be given in stone, pounds and ounces rather than kilograms and grams. Stone tends to be used to give the weight of a person and is not used commonly in other contexts. Pounds and ounces are sometimes used for weights of goods, however in retail contexts the metric equivalent is usually provided.
- 1 stone comprises of 14 pounds or 224 ounces. 1 stone is equal to roughly 6.35 kilograms. “st” may be used as an abbreviation.
- 1 pound comprises of 16 ounces. 1 pound is equal to roughly 0.45 kilograms. “lb” may be used as an abbreviation.
- 1 ounce is equal to roughly 28.34 grams. “oz” may be used as an abbreviation.
Measurements are where you may more commonly see usage of imperial units. The road system in the UK uses miles as its formal unit of measurement and in the vast majority of cases, this is the unit the general public will use for distances too.
- 1 mile is roughly equal to 1.6 kilometres
Lesser used distance measurements are yard (1 yard is equal to 91cm) and furlong (1 furlong is roughly equal to 201 metres).
Feet (ft) and inches (in) are sometimes used to measure smaller distances and in particular, these units are commonly used to measure a person’s height.
- 1 foot comprises of 12 inches and 1 foot is roughly equal to 30.5cm
- 1 inch is roughly equal to 2.5cm
Some liquids may be sold in pints.
- 1 pint is equal to 568 millilitres
Milk is commonly sold in denominations of pints, however the metric equivalent will be printed on the packaging if purchased in stores.
A gallon is a lesser used measurement for liquid. A gallon in the UK differs from the US measurement of the same name.
- 1 UK gallon is equal to 4.55 litres