A family doctor working on the coast of the Arabian Gulf since 2015. Used to work:

  • The KAUST Medical Clinic for Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 2013-2015
  • The Family Medicine Department at King Faisal Hospital in Jeddah from 2007-2013.

100 thoughts on “About

  1. I am a Family Medicine or General Practitioner (UK) doctor working currently in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I did my training in the UK and passed the MRCGP exam in the UK in 2004. For some reason when I passed the MRCGP they decided to give a distinction! I enjoy keeping a blog to allow me to ruminate and think more about new medical information and sometimes blog about the MRCGP and its newer variants.

    If you have time visit a wiki I help maintain at http://www.familymedicinejeddah.com for Family Medicine doctors and GPs, it has many useful tools and links for daily practice. The wiki has ceased.

    Hope you enjoy it and find something useful.

    1. Dear. Dr. Taqi, I would like to know that what is the period to complete MRCGP part 2. Is it 6 years from the date of passing part one or it is 6 years from the date of first registration for part 1.
      Kindly guide me in this respect. Thanks

    2. Hi Dr Taqi I just moved in UAE and planing to do MRCGP international. I wanted to know do I need to be fluent in Arabic for my exam or it would be in English. I will be very grateful if you could guide me on this mater.

      Dr Saima

      1. As far as I know it is in English and you do not need to be fluent in Arabic. All the best.

  2. AOA
    I am a UK trained doctor/GP now trying to help establish family medicne in Paksitn. A useful site, many thanks.

    Dr Kashaf Aziz

  3. v good site and i am sure must be v useful for many, especially those preparing for OSCE SOUTH ASIA. May Allah give u reward for this.
    I am preparing for OSCE (april). Any body from Oman(Sohar) for making a local study group.

  4. AOA Dr. Taqi.
    I have a couple of questions which may sound very trivial but they are often asked in the viva.
    1. How do you differentiate between a Viral Infection and a Bacterial Infection?
    2. What is the optimal duration of antibiotic therapy?
    Dr. Hamza

  5. As salam alaikum.I would like to enquire from you about two things.firstly,is MRCGP (INT)done from south asia approved and applicable as MRCGP in Saudi Arabia or one needs to write the exams in Saudi for Saudi accreditation?

    Secondly,could you in short describe the advantages of a UK qualified MRCGP,as you are now, working in Saudi Arabia?

    JazakAllah Khairan

    1. Walaikumsalaam wa rahmatullah:

      I am not aware of the Saudi Council and the MRCGP Int and whether or not this obviates the need to pass the Saudi Council exams as the MRCGP UK does. I suspect it does not as the MRCGP Int does not include an accredited training program. This is a chief failing of the MRCGP Int, potentially a second tier qualification when compared to the MRCGP UK. I would be grateful if you could let me know what you find out.

  6. AOA,
    My name is Dr Najeeb Alam Khan, have recently got Int membership of RCGP (UK) after passing the MRCGP 1 and 2 from the South Aisa region. Do let me know if anyone requires any help going through this exam in the region.

    Many regards!

  7. Tariq

    I am a qualified GP . in UK, got my MRCGP in 2009
    looking for work in Saudi

    Pleas enlighten me

    gazakallaho khair

    1. Job hunting in the Middle East for FM doctors / GPs – that’s a whole post on its own! Insha Allah will try and do one. In short hunt your best option is to hunt for jobs via the recruiting agencies, second bestoption is to send your CV to someone you know at a hospital looking for FM/GPs.

    1. Sorry for the delayed reply.

      OSCES: best preparation is mock OSCES with someone acting as an examiner.

      Operate within the guidelines (use the NICE summary guidelines) these should be enough for most cases.

      Cover your base 100 cases (have not had the time to list the top 100 cases). Have a look at the comments section under the original MRCGP cheat sheet post and set up a local study group at least 3 doctors. One examiner, one as the mock patient and the thrid as the examinee doctor.

      All the best.

  8. AoA, Wr. Dear Dr. Taqi,
    Alhamdulillah I attended family Medicine Symposium and had the honour to meet you, Dr Nehal, Dr. Aziz and Dr.Muntazir and was really glad to see talented group Family Physicians.MashaAllah, TabaarakAllah. I personally have done MCPS and MRCGP Int. and I really want to do some research BUT I am really confused how to do it…even a case report also…When you have to see a patient in max 10 minutes and others are knocking the door…?? Do you think that it can be done without “supporting Atmosphere”?
    Kindly extend my Salaam and Congratulate Dr Nehal,Dr.Aziz and Dr. Muntazir (If you remember) for making such an important event “A Success”
    Wassalam o Alaikum Wr.

    1. Walaikumsalaam

      Thanks for the comment. I think it is possible but it is hard work. You have to break every step down into 15 minute steps and give yourself 15 minutes extra with the door locked and do 15 minutes of work every day. I am sure you can, just keep going. Let me know when you manage to publish something – insha Alah soon.

  9. AoA, Wr. Dear Brother,

    Yesterday I had a patient on Amlodipine 10mg for hypertension , for whom I wanted to switch over to valsartan due to ankle oedema. Dosage equivalence is my querry…..He was well controlled on Amlodipine. Which one would be a better option, to stop amlodipine and start valsartan 80 and observe or valsartan 160 mg with proper precaution and monitoring?
    If you have any link showing dose equivalence of antihypertensives, I will be grateful.

    Shukran wa JazakAllah Khair.

    1. wawrwb

      Sorry can’t help you on the dose equivalencies – let me know if you found anything. Just a thought: should we be thinking more about effect equivalencies rather than dose equivalencies? If so this is probably patient specific or perhaps there is a range effect.

  10. salamt dr . am medical officer working in phc in KSA. am interested in MRCGP but i dont know from where i start and what i need to succses in exam and where to do it

  11. can i get the job in saudi arabia after passing mrcgp (int), as i m living my husband and small kidz in saudia…so i think its a most easy way to enter in family medicine? please i m soo confuse help me out? is it recognize here or it will help me to rasie my salary package also?

    1. Hi

      A lot of people are working as Family Doctors without any family medicine residency training, but these jobs tend to be in the private sector or are less well paid. The intMRCGP is not counted as a formal residency training and employers are aware of this. The intMRCGP is really meant for people who are already working as ‘Family Doctors’ for many years and want to update their consultation skills, knowledge and practice. It is not an alternative to a Family Medicine residency or training program. The more qualified you are the more likely you are to be able to negotiate a better package but as far as I know the intMRCGP currently from the few personal cases that I know has not helped in raising salaries but has helped maintain the job.

  12. thank u soo much for ur reply, so plz advice meresidency training programm running in saudi arabia for foreigners

  13. Thank you dr Taqi
    Please can you guid me to the right way for getting MRCGP ..
    I graduated in 2008 from Sudan, Working now in medical departement in KSA,,
    Should I attend a specific programe or it is enough to pass the exam only

    best regards,

    1. To get the MRCGP you would have to go to the UK and enroll in a residency program. This is easier said than done as UK rules of immigration and professional equivalency exams (PLAB) will be prerequisites. Here is a previous answer I gave to a similar question:

      A lot of people are working as Family Doctors without any family medicine residency training, but these jobs tend to be in the private sector or are less well paid. The intMRCGP is not counted as a formal residency training and employers are aware of this. The intMRCGP is really meant for people who are already working as ‘Family Doctors’ for many years and want to update their consultation skills, knowledge and practice. It is not an alternative to a Family Medicine residency or training program. The more qualified you are the more likely you are to be able to negotiate a better package but as far as I know the intMRCGP currently from the few personal cases that I know has not helped in raising salaries but has helped maintain the job.

  14. sir , mrcgp int is not recognized in ksa but i heard that it is recognized in muscat and qatar, can i apply there on a better position like registrar than a resident after doing mrcgp int.?

    1. Thank you for pointing that out. I am sorry but I do not have any information regarding the use of intMRCGP. Perhaps others can comment?

    1. Thank you for the question. As far as I understand the answer would be no, but this probably depends on the GMC’s requirements to be registered on the GP Register. If they accept the MRCGP Int as an equivalent then as each GP practice is effectively an independent employer it could be possible. I would suggest that you write a letter to the GMC and ask this question to them. If you get an answer please let us know here.

      1. Dear Dr Taqi,
        I am a GP in UK working as a full time partner in a practice. I have MRCGP and DPD(Diploma in Practical Dermatology from Cardiff University). I am currently doing a 2 year Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes from Cardiff and I am half way through.
        I was wondering whether it would be worth leaving UK for a job in Saudi Arabia. I am a British National and about 40 years old with family. I am willing to move depending on the package. I have no idea about the packages and salaries over there. Your kind opinion will be appreciated.
        DR HABIB

  15. Assalamou Alaikoum
    Dear Brothers
    I would like to have your opinion and guidance regarding my situation. I am currently in a GP training in the UK and will insha ALLAH get my MRCGP (UK) in 2014. However, my husband has secured a position (non medical) in Jeddah now and will be moving there in a just a few months. Obviously, as soon as I finish my MRCGP UK, I will join him with the children. I would like to know what are the job opportunities in Jeddah for someone with MRCGP UK with of course several years of experience in the UK.
    I would be most grateful if you could highlight whether there are requirements to get registration from the Saudi medical council (equivalent to GMC in the UK) to practice medicine in KSA, how to get a job (recruitment agency or otherwise).
    If there is a website which guides people like me, I would be very thankful if you could guide me there.
    Thank you all in advance for your help.

  16. dr taqi i got saudi diploma in family medicine since 3 years from saudi counsel. i have mrcgp part 2 exam next septemper.my question does this diploma support mrcgp int certificate if i got it in job position and salary. i have been working in primary health care centers in saudi arabi(menistry of health) for 10 years but i want to work in national guard or military hospitals.does mrcgp int and saudi diploma provide me a good position a nd good salary

    1. A very good question, to which I am afraid I do not have a very good answer. I think this depends on the employing institution and their policies. I was told that some hospitals do give additional weight and recognition to the intMRCGP.

  17. I am a gp trained in uk . I have passed the mrcgp. I am looking for job as gp in any middle east I have applied to a number of job agencies and sent cv to many clinics but unfortunately have had no reply. Please if anyone could advise me in searching for a job. Most appreciated.

    I from India living in Riyadh for past 2 yrs,i have completed in masters in family medicine from India planning to take MRCGP in november.can you please give link as to how can i access to past AKT question paper. Ur help would be of great benefit.

  19. Dr Taqi Asalam alaikum
    I am working as a consultant family medicine in KAMC jeddah since 5.1.13. Initially I got temp registration with Saudi National council, now that it is time to get permanent registration with SNC, they are saying that i don’t have any experience in family medicine!!!!!. I did my GP VTS in essex (completed in 2005), My MRCGP in 2007. I have been working as GP Prinincipal since 2007 till 31.12.12 when I left UK and went to Jeddah. What can i do to convince them that I have enough qualification, training and experience to be Consultant. I shall be really grateful if you could advice me please.

    1. I am not too sure why this problem has occurred but it seems that the Saudi Council are requiring all physicians to sit the Prometric exam. They used to have the option of exam by interview and this may something that is worth pursuing. I have also written to the British Ambassador to review whether it is just UK doctors who are being treated like this and I suggest you also write to them: https://www.gov.uk/government/people/john-jenkins to review the situation with UK Family Doctors. It is worthwhile asking what happens if you do not achieve the required grade and I am interested in hearing what happened to you as I have some other colleagues in the same boat.

    1. I am sorry to hear of your situation. I have not been active on my blog for a long time and I hope things are better. I am sorry I am no longer at King Faisal or working in Jeddah. I wish you both the best.

  20. Asalam o alaikum sir.hope u r fine.i want to do mrcgp int.but many dr say it is not useful.plz guide me in this regard .should i go for it.what other options we have to take some qualification while working here in saudiarabia.thanks

    1. Walaikumsalaam

      Difficult question to answer. Currently the intMRCGP is more a self improvement qualification for Saudi Arabia. What employment prospects it holds for the future are unclear. Diplomas in various subjects may be of interest to you but answering such a question is beyond the scope of my blog.

  21. dEAR Dr Taqi,
    how do you get revalidated whilst you are overseas. if you intend to come back to U.K will you have to do any exams to satsify the gmc.

    1. Dear Dr.Taqi
      I have recently completed my GP training in UK and I have been thinking about working abroad .I wonder what is it like to work in Saudi as a GP for UK trained GP’s. A family friend mentioned that I can get a very good job by passing MRCP however I am not keen on working in hospital medicine . I would be grateful if you could give some information on how General Practice operates in Saudi arbaia. I take the opportunity to answer Dr.Farook’s question about revalidation process for GP’s working outside U.K. as a Uk trained GP who is working abroad you have to come back every year for your annual appraisal and if you fail to do so then you would be taken off the performers list ( however if you are working in Australia or New Zealand then you can find an appraiser there .Usually GP’s working abroad come back to UK once a year for appraisal and locums to prove that they haven’t been working away more than a year working abroad.

      1. Agreed you have to go back or de-register from your licence. The GMC say this is easily reversed when coming back to the UK. If movement to and fro is not a big issue you will have to continue to work a week or so every year back in the UK.

  22. HI Dr Taqi,
    Im very happy to find this forum as it exactly what Ive been looking for .I am a salaried Gp working full time in Kent UK. Completed my MRCGP last year.
    I am very interested to settle in saudia and just wanted to know what the current situation is for Female Gps who do not speak Arabic.
    How different is general practice in Saudia compared to the UK and our the perks really worth it.
    I would be extremely grateful if you could spare some moments to answer my queries.
    Many thanks
    regards sadaf

    1. How different is practice here to there?
      Please see answers to riverofmilk for the type of practice. In short in some aspects a lot and in others very little.

      How important is Arabic
      Most of the big hospitals which have a family medicine department will give you a nurse who translates. Arabic is becoming an increasing demand but the need for GPs in general (aka Family Doctors) outweighs the need for Arabic speaking GPs still. The amount of Arabic you need is not that much to have a consult – you could start learning.

      Female doctors are still in demand.

      Are the perks really worth it or not?
      This really depends on your individual situation, family, future plans, children etc. If you don’t have a clear reason to come and are ambivalent about the move abroad, my advice is do not move.

      Saudi does not offer ‘settlement’ but limited work contracts. If a contract is not renewed you will have to return to your country of origin.

  23. Dear Dr Taqi ,
    What an informative website ! I am a mum and a female GP working in the UK and I am considering applying for Family Medicine positions in Jeddah.

    1. How was your experience working as a GP in King Faisal ? Could you also kindly comment on the working hours , workload , working environment accommodation and job satisfaction ?

    2. Are contracts for doctors usually renewable ? Is there a maximum number of years an expat could work in the hospital or in Saudi in general ?

    3. Do UK doctors , GPs in particular , have to get the registration with the Saudi Medical Council ?

    4. Any general advice before I apply or leave for Saudi ?

    Would be great to hear your response here . Please also free to email me. Thank you very much in advance. May you have a fruitful Ramadan !

    1. 1. How was your experience working as a GP in King Faisal ?

      Could you also kindly comment on the working hours , workload , working environment accommodation and job satisfaction ?
      The hours were 8-5. They used to have an evening shift but this was abandoned due to poor utilization.
      15 minute appointments
      Lunch 11-12
      Type of patients: ‘Internal medicine’ majority (majority which is Diabetes), few paeds. OB patients tend to go for female doctors and vice versa.
      Working environment: good
      Job satisfaction : good potential

      2. Are contracts for doctors usually renewable ?
      Yes – usually automatically as long as both parties are happy.

      Is there a maximum number of years an expat could work in the hospital or in Saudi in general ?
      Retirement at age 60 years, other proposals to limit their number of years are still proposals.

      3. Do UK doctors , GPs in particular , have to get the registration with the Saudi Medical Council ?
      Yes, they will probably have to sit the Prometric exam, the score determines the Saudi Medical Council ranking. At the moment this only has an administrative significance and pay and benefits are determined before hand.

      4. Any general advice before I apply or leave for Saudi ?
      Work out why you are coming. Think of other factors such as education, bonds with relatives back home etc.

      Would be great to hear your response here . Please also free to email me. Thank you very much in advance. May you have a fruitful Ramadan !
      Thank you. Pray your went well too,

  24. Dear Dr Taqi

    I am fully Qualified GP from the UK passed my MRCGP had 6 years post graduate experience before I accepted a job here in Saudi Arabia. For the past year I am struggling to convince the Saudi Council Riyadh about Consultant Licence. They do not seem to understand UK we are self employed not employed. I believe you must have gone through this, if you could send me a contact or email I would be grateful to get in touch with you to discuss. I am based in Jeddah. Thank you in advance for all your help.

    Kind Regards

    Dr Kaukab

    1. Dear Dr Kaukab,

      It seems the Saudi Council are being quite strict about this. Currently there seems to be no clear solution apart from sitting the Prometric exam for Family Medicine.

      Perhaps people should share their experience of the Prometric Family Medicine exam which though not easy is based on Family Medicine topics.

  25. Salam Alaikum Colleagues, I am a British GP who leads a very happy and lucrative life as a free lance or locum doctor . Is there much of a need for locum GP’s/ family medicine doctors in Saudi Arabia for a period of a month or two at a time . I did not think so– but if there is then would someone let me know please. I feel the need to tap into Saudi money !

  26. Dr Taqi — thanks for your reply. May be its not a coincidence but I had an email in my inbox yesterday from a senior admin officer on behalf of Dr Adeel Riaz at KAUST asking me to forward my CV !! Most peculiar ! ( actually– i JUST SAW THAT I HAD ENTERED MY E-MAIL ADDRESS BELOW -SO MAY BE NOT THAT PECULIAR AFTER ALL !! )
    But I have made some initial enquiries and hope to submit my CV soon.

    Dr Taqi– KAST is in Thuwal and DrFaqeehHospital is in Jeddah— so where exactly does one work ? Is it covering both sites over the course of a week ?

    Salam Alaikum. Umair

    1. Walaikumsalaam:

      I can give you some background information:

      KAUST King Abdullah University of Science and Technology is a modern, new, postgraduate university built about 100 km north of Jeddah in a small costal city called Thuwal. There is a 3 lane motorway connecting Thuwal to Jeddah, Makkah and Madeenah the three nearest major cities. The university has a medical clinic which is operated by service providers. The current service provider is Dr Soliman Faqeeh Hospital (DSFH), which is one of the oldest and largest private hospitals in Jeddah.

      Staff recruited for the KAUST Medical Clinic (KMC), locum or permanent, only work at the KMC but their administrative processes are taken care of by the main hospital in Jeddah.

  27. Thanks Dr Taqi. Apologies if I gave the impression that I was already in the Holy Kingdom. Alas I work in the rainy United Kingdom at the moment. Dr Riaz has been quite helpful. Thank you for giving me his contact details. Umair

  28. As salam alaikum dr taqi

    I am an indian physician residing in Riyadh. I have two years work exp as a duty medical officer in India.
    I am interested in taking up practice in Saudi Arabia. Can you please highlight the steps for professional registration as a doctor after clearing SLE?
    Like what all notarized certificates are needed for submission etc

    1. Not sure but I think:
      Basic degrees need to be legalised i.e. a stamp from the issuing body, then the Foreign Ministry in your country of origin and then the embassy of the country you are going to and the reverse process in the country you reach.

  29. Assalam-o-alaikum
    I am British qualified GP, currently working in Australia. I would like to work in Saudi Arabia for a few years. I wonder how would I be to get a job in Saudi Arabia, not far from Makkah or Madina!!
    I wonder if you could guide me.
    Zain Ul-Abadin

  30. assalam o alaikum dr,i hv done mcps in family medicine(pakistan).could i get job in jeddah hospitals as a family physician.wat would be the salarybpackage expected?

  31. Salam.
    Like alot of the overseas qualified doctors sending in their queries to you, I am also looking for a family med job here in Jeddah. My question not about the job search but about the actual practice aspect of things. The Australian system, where I trained, is somewhat similar to the UK system from what I understand. Did you find much difference between the way you practiced in the UK (in terms of when to refer or chronic disease management etc) to how it is over here? Are you expected to be doing specialist level internal med clinics as opposed to generalist level management that family med training prepares us for? Any other major differences that you felt after practicing here?
    Thanks very much

    1. Than answer very much depends on the type of place you work at. A large tertiary centre or hospital with a family medicine department runs more as an internal medicine department rather than a true family medicine – primary care – place. Practice wise Jeddah and KSA is more US oriented and their guidelines are followed more than others. Overall the practice is more technology based than in the UK front line esp if working in a big centre. There is a lot more Diabetes and you slowly sink into doing more Internal Medicine. Contact with paediatric patients and routine women’s health can be significantly reduced. I have heard that ARAMCO family medicine jobs are truer to their FM roots.

  32. Dr.Taqi ,ASA,I am working in KSA ,I need to write a dissertation on Endocrinology and Diabetes and I need a supervisor and lots of help can you please guide me as to how I can do that ..

    1. It depends on the requirements for your supervisor. Do they have to have an academic background or is a clinical background sufficient? If clinical approach one of your local hospitals and just go and meet one of the endocrinologists and see if they are interested. If academic then you will need support from the institution that is asking you to write the dissertation as they are more likely to have helpful contacts and info.

  33. Doing csa(MRCGP Int) in March 2016. Anyone advice how to prepare/attending course in Karachi. I have heard about Dr Rukhsana Ansari’s course. Does anyone know her contact details. Thanks

  34. As salamo alaikom. Ive passed through part 1 exam mrcgp int south asia and im planning to sit for part 2 exam in acouple of months. Would u please guide me how to move to canada without having completed a 3 year vocational training program in family medicine and thanks.

    1. I am not best placed to advise on relocation. From my general knowledge I think you have to apply via the Canadian immigration process as a doctor, do their licensing exams and apply for a residency program. Can anyone else help?

  35. Dear Dr Taqi, Assalamualaikum

    I am a female UK qualified MRCGP GP considering a move to Saudi Arabia, and am hoping to draw on your experience regarding certain issues…

    1) Most of the jobs I’ve come across are being advertised for full time 5day 40-50hour week. Being a mum of young children is there any scope of negotiating down to 3/4 day week, or is that something that just doesn’t happen in Saudi?

    2) I’ve come across this concept of VIP patient, and jobs being advertised requiring VIP experience. Is it worth applying for these jobs based on the medical ethics one has of treating patients with compassion regardless of background or do you really need special expertise to tackle this group of patients?

    3) would really appreciate guidance on what to expect in an interview

    JazakAllah khair, kind regards.

    1. Dear Dr Wajeeha, Walaikumsalaam wa rahmatullah
      1. Reduced hours are very unlikely. You can always ask, explain your situation and ask for 2 ‘administrative” sessions per week. On the whole the concept of part/ 3/4 time work is foreign to the area especially for non-citizens.

      2. VIP patients are essentially the same as normal patients but come from a more privileged background and tend to be more educated hence their demands may be greater. It is worthwhile being clear from the beginning to demarcate the work / family life boundary. VIP patients tend to have greater access and if you are well liked they may wish to contact you for advice outside your normal work hours. There is trade off between greater money and potential loss of “protected” off time. You will need to bear this possibility in mind in weighing up your options.

      3. Interviews tend to be quite benign and are really looking for someone who can fit in and perhaps last the full course in the area. They are much more relaxed affairs than in the West and I would not worry too much about the interview.

      All the best with your future career.

      1. Assalamualaikum Dr Taqi, many thanks for your response, I am unsure if you received my previous reply ‘s .. Apologies if I’m repeating myself!

        As I’m delving into applications I am coming across this split shift system where your working a morning and then an evening shift, is this the case everywhere? E.g. If working in a campus based clinic such as Kaust?

        JazakAllah khair
        Kind regards

      2. KAUST as far as I know has a late start clinic but no split shift. Split shifts are not common in the government sector but are favoured in the private sector.

  36. Thank you very much for your kind response, very helpful!

    Please do let me know if you have any contacts that may be worth sending CV directly.

    JazakAllah khair

  37. Thank you that was very helpful! Are there any contacts you would recommend worth forwarding my CV to?

    JazakAllah khair

    1. I don’t have any specific recommendations, sorry. I might have mentioned something in the past please have a rummage in this section and see if I did.

  38. Dear Dr Taqi,

    Am interested in asking your advise re expected salary ranges for UK graduates with MRCGP for Family Consultant and Medical Director positions in the private sector in Saudi. Many thanks

    1. Dear Mo
      It is difficult to be precise about salaries as there is considerable variation depending on the sector and your requirements. A reasonable percentage of your bonus would be something you could realistically negotiate on top of your basic for the extra administrative responsibility. Have a look around at job adverts and speak to the agencies and see what is being currently offered and base your negotiations on this. All the best.

  39. Dear Dr Taqi,
    Salam Alaikum,
    I am a British trained GP working in Manchester. I am revisiting your website having made some enquiries in 2014 which you kindly answered.
    May I ask about the challenges that you have faced, if any, as a non-Arab doctor in dealing with Saudi patients. I am concerned that being non-Arab and non-Arabic speaking might put a degree of strain on my doctor-patient relationship making me think twice about applying for jobs in this country. How do you overcome the language barrier with your patients and how accessible are interpreters during consultations.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Dr Umair Masood

    1. Dear Dr Umair,
      I think overall this is not a major issue in the sector most Western trained doctors tend to work in. English as a second language has spread. Once I met a Norwegian dentist who compared his work in the 1990’s and 2005 and onwards. Just 15 years later. He was surprised at the spread of the English language and had noticed a huge sea change. Where a patient can only speak in Arabic, usually there is someone on hand who can help. Usually these are nurses or other relatives. Also medical Arabic history taking has a limited vocabulary and most doctors after 6 months start to pick up the key words. To summarise it is a surmountable obstacle and not an insurmountable barrier.

      All the best.

  40. Thank you for your helpful reply Dr Taqi. I wonder if i could ask 2 brief follow on questions please.
    First, have there been any recent changes in the maximum duration that an overseas family medicine consultant could stay in the Kingdom assuming the contract is renewed by the employer annually. Is there a final retirement age beyond which no contract is renewable? ( fortunately i have a way to go till then yet !!)
    Second, I hardly ever see any job adverts for Makkah or Madinah. Are vacancies in these 2 Holy Cities internally filled and there is seldom a need for foreigners or is family medicine less evolved here with greater reliance on secondary care here.

    May i also ask how long have you been working in Saudi and what keeps you there and don’t you miss the NHS 1 ?


    Umair Masood

    1. Maximum duration: not sure. The number 10 years had been mentioned but I am not sure what became of that.

      Makkah & Madeenah: are growing cities and job adverts are going rou do for Madeenah. Key words: National Guard (Madeenah), King Abdullah Medical City & Security Forces Hospital (Makkah). In these locations the number of English speaking patients are likely to be less than the big metropolises of Jeddah & Riyadh.

      Saudi: 2007 to 2015. I am on the other coast now: in Qatar.

      Every place has its advantages and disadvantages. As usual there are many factors in choosing the best place for yourself and your family. Everyone is unique in this regard and it is difficult to generalise.

      From a professional perspective I think Saudi offers a wider scope of practice, better clinical experience, exposure to clinicians from all over the world and with the Internet there is no compromise on academic attainment. The larger centres offer this while smaller or private centres have the ability to do so, though they may be perceived as not having the administrative atmosphere that promotes that. But things are changing and I do believe improving significantly. There is a vibrant Family Medicine Community with young local family doctors and the academic side is constantly growing and improving. There is always room for improvement and for people who see this as an opportunity to contribute as well as benefit from.

      All the best.

  41. Hi, I am an MRCGP-INT. qualified Dr. ,interested in doing short term FM training in UK. I heard there are organizations which can arrange and recommend you to RCGP. Can I have some contact details for such organizations or person.
    Will be obliged.

    1. Thanks for the question. I have asked around and I did not find anything apart from the standard clinical attachment programs run in a hospital setting. These are jobs without any active clinical role and are like preregistration house officer posts.

      If you find anything please share it here.

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