Gulu Diagnostic Imaging Programme (GDIP) FAQs

General

Who can apply for GDIP?

NHS employees across England with a background in radiology/radiography/ultrasound and supporting services with an interest and enthusiasm for contributing to/supporting the development of diagnostic imaging in Gulu. Prospective applicants for the long-term volunteering roles will be based in one of the two hospital sites and use their skills to support the project aims. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, please note:  

We are looking for senior radiographers, radiology trainees and consultants.  Other staff groups (ie sonographers, biomedical engineers) should have experience of working in a Band 6 role in the Agenda for Change scheme by the start of their deployment. 

Those in clinical/managerial/academic or educational roles are welcome to apply.  

The scheme is targeted at individuals who are mid-career, however applications meeting the requirements above, including retirees, are welcome to apply. 

How can I apply? 

When GDIP begins recruitment, please apply on the GDIP programme page. Once you have submitted the application form, please send your current CV to guluproject@hee.nhs.uk. Please email your CV as a PDF, saved in your name and followed by ‘CV’.

If you are shortlisted, you will be asked to attend a formal interview either in person or virtually.

Please note, you will need to have agreement from your line manager to apply and to support your participation in the scheme unless you are taking a break from training or work.

Where will I be working?

This project is based in Gulu, which is the largest metropolitan area in Uganda’s northern region. Gulu is located 335km north of Uganda’s capital and largest city, Kampala. Volunteers will be based in one of two hospitals.

GRRH is a 370 bedded, government-funded hospital. It is one of 13 Regional Referral Hospitals in Uganda and is also a teaching hospital for medical students from Gulu University. The radiology department is staffed by a principal radiographer who is the head of department, one senior radiographer, one radiographer and three darkroom attendants. 

Lacor Hospital is a private not-for-profit 600 bedded hospital with an average of 500 patients attending outpatients per day. It is 4 miles from Gulu town. It functions as a general and a referral hospital. It is a teaching hospital for medical students from Gulu University. Please find here the list of services available.  

I am a locum healthcare worker – can I still apply? 

Yes, providing you are working in an NHS setting in England. 

I have not worked overseas before – can I still apply? 

Yes. Support will be given to you both pre-departure and in-country to make the best use of your skills. However, previous experience of working/travelling in another country is helpful, as is working with people from a mix of cultures in the UK. 

Can I take my family with me on deployment (long-term volunteers)? 

It would not be possible for your family to go with you for the full 6 months of your deployment, however short visits may be possible by separate arrangement. 

Pre-Placement

What is my pre-deployment time commitment? 

Before departure, you will be required to participate in a mandatory induction over 1-2 days and a 2 day Leadership Development Centre course, depending on which volunteer activity you are participating in. This will provide you with an overview of the project, an insight into leadership skills and team working, for example, as well as provide you with a comprehensive Handbook. 

Long term volunteers will participate in interactive practical sessions focussing on the leadership behaviour domains within the NHS Healthcare Leadership Model (2013)

What contact will I have with my mentor (long-term volunteers)? 

You will have at least one meeting, either in person or virtually, prior to departure with your allocated Mentor as part of your pre-deployment induction to discuss your expectations regarding your personal and professional development. 

You will agree a means for making regular contact whilst on deployment with your Mentor, we suggest fortnightly. On return from deployment, you will have a session with your Mentor, either face to face or virtually, to reflect on your experience and review your personal development. 

Are my flights and transport paid for? 

Your return economy class flights and airport tax will be paid for. In-country transport costs to and from the airport, such as taxis, will be covered by the project, however you may need to pay for the costs first and then reclaim the money back by submitting an invoice. You will be expected to cover UK transport costs such as transport to the airport.

What is my luggage allowance? 

This depends on the airline you travel with and will be their normal economy-class allowance. If you need more than the airline allows you are required to cover any additional cost yourself 

How do I get the correct visa? 

Please refer to the UK Government Foreign Travel Advice website for up-to-date guidance on Uganda.

Do I have to organise and pay for my own vaccinations and anti-malarials? 

You are required to participate in an assessment of your medical fitness to travel and work abroad, undertaken by a recognised travel clinic or your own GP. You are responsible for obtaining any vaccinations required prior to your departure and medications prior to deployment, including medications required for pre-existing conditions.

You must confirm in writing by emailing the Gulu project team that you understand that you are responsible for acquiring your own medication, and submit evidence letting us know that you have sought and acted on medical travel advice. This is a requirement of the project health insurance policy.  

Will I be covered by health and general insurance? 

Health Education England has an insurance policy which provides cover for emergency dental and medical emergencies, including repatriation to the UK, for the duration of each 6-month deployment. Details for this project will be supplied in due course. The insurance cover will include emergencies during short breaks taken whilst deployed, as long as these breaks are taken in the same region as the deployment site.  

It may not cover personal travel before or after the end of deployment. You are required to discuss any planned extension to your 6-month deployment with the Gulu Diagnostic Imaging Project team. In addition, routine GP and dental visits are not covered by the insurance policy so you may wish to obtain addition health and travel insurance before departing for deployment. Our insurance may not provide any cover for HIV related incidences including the diagnosis of the illness in the case of accidently being pricked by a needle – this will be clarified in the coming few months. 

The project is dependent on adequate insurance cover being obtained for Covid-related matters – this will be clarified in the coming few months. 

Am I covered by indemnity insurance while I am volunteering? 

You must provide evidence to the Gulu Diagnostic Imaging Project team that you have contacted your professional organisation/body to request appropriate cover whilst volunteering.  You must check with your relevant professional body to clarify what cover you need. 

Please provide a copy of your documents confirming your cover to the Gulu Diagnostic Imaging Project team. Your organisation may inform you that you do not need additional cover – please nonetheless inform us with evidence of this communication. 

Will I get paid during deployment? How much? 

The accommodation in Gulu is pre-paid, therefore you will not have to pay rent or utilities. 

Long-term volunteers will receive a monthly stipend for a 6-month overseas deployment, to cover all essential living expenses whilst in-country. The monthly amount is £350 for subsistence plus any expenses incurred as a result of participation in the project. Because this is a stipend, not a salary, no contributions are taken for PAYE or National Insurance. In addition, no NHS pension contributions are made. 

During your deployment, the Gulu Project team will contact you to ask for details of your monthly outgoings. This is to ensure the stipend amount being paid is in line with the cost of living and to ensure it is sufficient. 

Short-term volunteers and virtual volunteers will not receive any stipend. However, short-term volunteers will have their reasonable expenses met including a subsistence allowance. 

Do the volunteering opportunities count as NHS employment in terms of incremental pay rises? 

No, as this is not an NHS employment post.

Do I get annual leave while I’m deployed? 

Long-term volunteers are entitled to 15 days of annual leave during the 6-month deployment period: the dates being agreed with our overseas partner.  

The in-country public holidays should be considered and taken as part of your annual leave allowance, because of the high number of public holidays at most deployment sites. 

Revalidation/GMC licence to practice guidance for clinicians. 
Is my GMC license valid whilst working overseas?

Participants who hold a licence to practice must consider their options with regards to their licence to practice whilst they are abroad, and check with their regulatory body any necessary requirements for revalidation or licence to practice. 

The duration of the long-term deployment is 6 months so do not relinquish your licence. Doctors who are not in a training post or employed by a Trust, whilst on the project, should ensure that they have disconnected themselves from their last designated body on GMC connect as they will not have a connection for this period of time. The GMC will write to them to confirm that they do not have a connection and will be able to provide them with further advice for when they return to training and /or employment.  

Doctors who do not have a training number – Do not give up a licence to practice and continue collecting information to support your annual appraisal, which should happen on your return to the UK. 

Doctors in training posts – For trainees the situation is different. They usually take an OOPE (Out of Programme Experience). They must retain an NTN (national training number) and declare their full scope of work (including their time abroad) at their ARCP (Annual Review of Competency Progression). There is some good guidance on the Health Education England website: 

Toolkit for the collection of evidence of knowledge and skills gained through participation in an international health project.

Health Education England guidance for trainees planning to volunteer or work overseas.  

During Placement

What will I be doing on placement? 

There is flexibility regarding the projects that will be undertaken during the deployment and that will depend on the local needs and will be defined in partnership with the local teams. 

Long-term volunteers will support delivery of clinical care (although not have responsibility for it), undertake and support the development of managerial tasks in order to enhance diagnostic radiology services. They would be expected to collect prospective clinical and non-clinical data for audit purposes. Long-term volunteers are also likely to be included in the education and training of local staff and development of local health systems and processes. Long-term volunteers will be allocated an identified in-country colleague to support you, adjust and optimize your contribution to the project. 

Short-term volunteers will participate in educational activity which has been agreed in partnership with local teams. 

The UK-based project lead will undertake in-country visits during the lifetime of the project. During this time, they will meet with you, to discuss the project, any issues, etc. The short-term and virtual volunteers will support the long-term volunteers, however they are welcome to suggest long-term projects for consideration. Virtual volunteers will participate in mentoring/facilitation of virtual education/training and curriculum development as required by our partners. 

All volunteers will be expected to participate in Global Engagement’s evaluation of personal and professional development. 

What Language is spoken in Gulu?

The main language commonly spoken is English – patient notes and clinical conversations will happen in English. However, “Acholi” is the local language and widely spoken. Some patients from rural settings may not speak English and their relatives/ local clinicians may translate for them. 

What type of accommodation can I expect to live in? 

In Gulu, bungalow style accommodation is provided within a walled compound. It is comfortable and secure with electricity, running water and mosquito nets. Staff are employed to take care of the house and its environment.

How much will I pay for accommodation?

The accommodation and associated costs in Gulu are funded separately and is prepaid, the monthly stpend reflects this.

What transport will I use on placement?

While doing project work your transport may be a taxi or organisation vehicle with driver depending on whether you are at the Regional Referral Hospital (walking distance) or Lacor (6 miles away). 

What communication will I have in country? Is a mobile phone supplied? 

The project does not provide mobile phones. It is advisable to have a local SIM – mobiles are readily and cheaply available. Internet access is provided within the accommodation and widely available in cafes/hotels. An alternative is to use an internet dongle.  

Should I take out my own laptop?

Yes, it is recommended to take out your own laptop. The project will provide 2 laptops, however these are to be used primarily to facilitate online training/educational purposes.

How do I get out money in country? 

There are many banks and ATMs in Gulu. You should check that you won’t be charged exchange rates and cash advance charges to use your card abroad. It is advisable to inform your bank that you will be using it overseas so that your account is not ‘frozen’ to protect you from card fraud. 

Where else can I get up-to-date information about day-to-day life in Gulu? 

There is a specific Handbook which is updated regularly and contains useful information for you whilst on placement and will be shared with you once your opportunity has been agreed.  

We ask that each cohort of volunteers updates the Handbook before the end of the deployment to ensure it remains current.  

In the months before departure, the Gulu Project team will put you in contact with former Gulu volunteers. They are best placed to advise you about the living costs and practicalities of life in Gulu.   

What are the risks? 

Health Education England and our overseas partner organisations take your security and safety seriously. Before placing anybody as a volunteer, we make an independent judgement that security risks are at acceptable levels. Avoiding unacceptable risk and minimising acceptable risk once you are deployed is a duty and responsibility shared by you, Health Education England and our overseas partners. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic we would not place any volunteer overseas until the following criteria have been met: 

1. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) – will need to lift its current ban on all but essential travel; we expect this will happen when: 

a. The overseas country health risks are at pre-COVID-19 levels 

b. The overseas country (or region) political or civil unrest risks are stable 

2. There are commercial flights and inland travel available to the partnership site at least weekly and at a reasonable price 

3. We can get repatriation insurance, so that if any volunteer became unwell (for any reason) they can return to the UK and would not become a burden on local health services  

4. The capacity of NHS is sufficient to release staff for overseas 

By choosing to work in a different country and culture, you accept a potential increase in personal security risk posed by a new and unfamiliar environment. You are responsible for briefing yourself on security and safety and ensuring you are satisfied with the information you receive before you go. For up-to-date travel advice we advise all participants to familiarise themselves with the latest information for Uganda on the UK Government Foreign Travel Advice website.

We will discuss at induction what to do in the event of an accident or emergency on deployment – see below. 

What should I do if I need emergency care? 

You are required to note the 24-hour emergency number and other key numbers, always keeping them on you. 

In the event of an emergency in the first instance please contact the insurer. Then notify the Overseas Partner, followed by the Project team. 

Information about the process is included in detail in the Handbook and as mentioned above will be discussed at induction. 

A copy of the project’s Insurance documentation will be emailed to you before deployment which we encourage you to read through. 

Is there a Code of Conduct for volunteers? 

Yes, you are expected to abide by our Code of Conduct which is in the Handbook and we ask that you confirm in writing that you have read it before going on deployment. 

What is the dress code? 

The general rule for men and women is to dress modestly and respectfully, depending on whether you are in the office, in health facilities or in the field. You might find it useful to refer to the ‘Local laws and customs’ section on the UK Government Foreign Travel Advice website.

Can I socialise with local staff? 

The project is funded by the NHS so although you are not employed whilst deployed, you are acting as an ambassador to the NHS. You are encouraged to socialise with work colleagues but in a responsible and professional manner, including out of work time. 

Can I have a local boyfriend/girlfriend?  

No. Intimate relationships with local people during your deployment is forbidden – see Code of Conduct in Handbook. 

Can I have visitors? 

Yes, for short visits, following discussion and agreement with others with whom you are living. This might appear obvious but unfortunately, there have been incidents where this common courtesy has been ignored. Also please notify the overseas partner. 

Are there any occasions when my deployment would be shorter than planned? 

Your status as a volunteer will be reviewed in line with the obligations set out in your Letter of Commitment and the Code of Conduct, as well as any other circumstances where it is felt wise or prudent to return home e.g. becoming ill, political or civil unrest in-country, a pandemic such as Covid-19. 

Post-Placement

Can I go travelling at the end of my deployment? 

Yes – You will be liable for any charges incurred when changing flight dates if it is for your own convenience. 

You will need to arrange and pay for your own insurance for any travel beyond 2 weeks immediately after, and not in the country of, your deployment.  

Please be advised that if you think you will need your own insurance, general travel cover often starts and ends from the United Kingdom. However, we understand several travel insurance companies offer travel insurance whilst already overseas, allowing you to start the insurance cover when your deployment concludes and covering you until you return to the UK: 

www.worldnomads.com 

www.worldwideinsure.com 

www.globelink.co.uk  

What are my commitments post-deployment? 

On return to UK you will be expected to participate in any post-deployment personal / professional development evaluation – this may take the form of a questionnaire and / or a focus group. Volunteers   will be expected to write up a case study of their experiences and make these available to the project team. Long term volunteers should explore their leadership development, referencing the Leadership development material from their induction. 

Can I submit my project or experience for publication? 

Previous volunteers have published and presented about their experiences of volunteering in Gulu at conferences or other events. We support and encourage this, however, you are required to seek approval from the overseas partner as well as ourselves before publishing any material connected with your deployment. 

We would encourage you to give a short presentation which describes your work and personal learning to your NHS Trust or Royal College of Radiologists/Society and College of Radiographers for example. 

For more information on GDIP, please visit the GDIP programme page. If you still have questions having read this information, please contact guluproject@hee.nhs.uk.