Thailand Public Health Research (TPHR) FAQs

General

Who can apply for the TPHR Programme?

NHS doctors, who are employed by the NHS in England, with an interest and enthusiasm for developing their research experience in public health, together with leadership skills in an unfamiliar environment.  

Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. Please note, doctors must have completed FY2 as a minimum by the time they go on placement.  

Applicants are usually early to mid-career. 

How can I apply?

When the TPHR Programme begins recruitment, you can apply on the TPHR Programme page and you will be required to email your CV to global.learning@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.

To be informed of updates on all programmes, including when the recruitment window opens, please email global.learning@hee.nhs.uk and request to be added to the mailing list.

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 placement?

No, it is not possible for TPHR Fellows to be accompanied by family members.

Will I be paid whilst on placement?

You will receive a monthly salary paid by the Thai University/Medical School during your 12-month overseas placement, which is calculated to cover all essential living expenses for a single person (rent, food, laundry, transport between accommodation and place of work) whilst in-country.

Because this salary is paid by the Thai University/Medical School, no NHS pension contributions are made. 

During your placement, the TPHR Fellowship team will contact you to ask for details of your monthly outgoings. This is to ensure the salary amount being paid is in line with the cost of living for each placement site. 

Who will pay my salary?

This is managed by the overseas partner, and the TPHR Fellowship team liases with them on your behalf.

Does my TPHR Fellowship count as NHS employment in terms of incremental pay rises? 

No, as this is not an NHS employment post. 

Pre-Placement

What is my pre-placement time commitment?

Before departure, you are required to participate in a mandatory 4-day induction programme, plus have a meeting with a UK-based mentor who you will be linked with.  The induction programme will equip you with the requirements of the placement: an overview of the educational plan, leadership skills, team working, and information about current projects in our overseas partner country as well as provide you with a comprehensive TPHR Fellowship ‘Fellows Handbook’. 

What contact will I have with my mentor?

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. This will be to discuss your personal development plan having reviewed the NHS Healthcare Leadership Model

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

What personal development training can I expect prior to placement?

You are required to undertake the following training opportunities as part of the Fellowship: 

Completion of the online NHS Leadership Academy ‘Edward Jenner’ programme (to be completed by the end of your Fellowship) 

Complete the online Myers Briggs Personality Type Index (MBTI) and receive individual feedback from an MBTI Practitioner 

Other leadership development as part of the 3-day induction programme, which includes some interactive practical sessions focussing on the leadership behaviour dimensions within the NHS Healthcare Leadership Model (2013)

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 TPHR Fellowship 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 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO) travel advice website for up-to-date guidance. 

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

Yes. 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, and for obtaining and funding any vaccinations required prior to your departure and medications during your project assignment, including medications required for pre-existing conditions, at your own cost. 

You must confirm in writing by emailing the TPHR Fellowship 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 TPHR health insurance policy.  

Will I be covered by health and general insurance?

The TPHR Fellowship has a business travel insurance policy which provides cover for emergency dental and medical emergencies, including repatriation to the UK, for the duration of each 12-month placement. This includes emergencies during short breaks taken whilst on placement, as long as these breaks are taken in the same region as placement site.  

Longer periods of travel are not covered. You are required to discuss any planned extension to your 12-month placement with the TPHR Fellowship team.  

Routine GP and dental visits are not covered by the insurance policy so you may wish to obtain additional travel insurance before departing for placement. GP visits or dental check-ups whilst on placement are self-funded so you may wish to additionally have your own travel insurance. 

Our insurance does not offer any cover regarding HIV including the diagnosis of the illness in the case of accidently being pricked by a needle. 

Am I covered by indemnity insurance whilst I am on placement?

You must provide evidence to the TPHR Fellowship team that you have contacted your professional organisation/body to request cover for non-medical work including ‘Good Samaritan’ or ‘Humanitarian’ interventions. You must check with your relevant professional body to clarify what cover you need. 

Please provide copy of your documents confirming your cover whilst on placement prior to your departure as per the country checklist to the TPHR Fellowship team. Your organisation may inform you that you do not need additional cover – please nonetheless inform us with evidence of this communication. 

What should I do about revalidation/GMC License to Practice when going on placement?

TPHR Fellows who hold a licence to practice must consider their options with regards to their licence to practice whilst they are abroad. 

The duration of the TPHR Fellowship is 12 months, so do not relinquish your licence. Doctors who are not in a training post or employed by a Trust whilst on the TPHR Fellowship 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 you to confirm that you do not have a connection and will be able to provide you with further advice for when you return to training and/or employment.  

Doctors who do not have a training number – Do not give up a license 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 helpful guidance in the HEE guidance for trainees planning to volunteer or work overseas.

During Placement

Do I get annual leave whilst on placement?

You are entitled to 10 days of annual leave (this does not include in-country public holidays and is based on a 5 day working week) during your 12-month Fellowship. The dates being agreed with our overseas partner.  

What will I be doing during placement?

TPHR Fellows work in partnership with local teams, participating in existing research projects. You will not provide direct clinical care.  

You will be allocated an identified in-country research supervisor to support you with your research work. 

A UK-based TPHR Partnership Link Lead will visit during your placement, usually in the first 3 months, for approximately a week. During this time, they will meet with TPHR Fellows, together and individually, to discuss your research and any challenges. They will also meet with TPHR Fellows and their research supervisor to discuss the project and the key links with our overseas partners.   

You are required to submit a research plan within the first month of placement, a monitoring report at 6 months, and an evaluation report on completion of your Fellowship. You will work with our UK-based Monitoring and Evaluation Fellow on each of these documents. 

What research will I be working on?

You will join an existing research team, which is dependent on the research taking place at the time of departure. You may not know what research you will be working on until arrival on placement.  

There is a wide variety of public health research available to choose from.   

What type of accommodation can I expect to live in?

This varies from site to site, but generally, accommodation is comfortable and secure.

How much will I pay for accommodation?

Your accommodation is provided by the Thai University/Medical School you are allocated.

What transport will I use in-country?

While doing research work your transport may be public (Metropolitan Rapid Transit or bus), taxi or organisation vehicle with a driver depending on the situation. 

What communication will I have in-country?

The TPHR Fellowship does not provide mobile phones. Mobile phones are readily and cheaply available in-country, and internet access will be available using Wi-Fi. 

Should I take my own laptop?

Yes, it is strongly recommended to take out your own laptop to use for your research work. The TPHR Fellowship does not provide laptops, however, you may have access to office and University computers, though this may be on a shared basis. 

How do I withdraw money in-country?

All placement sites have ATMs in the main towns. You may want to check that you won’t be charged exchange rates and cash advance charges to use your card abroad. 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 on my placement?

There is a Thailand specific handbook containing useful information, that is updated by each cohort of Fellows to keep it useful and current. This will be shared with you once your Fellowship has been agreed. We also recommend you review other commercial resources and the FCDO website

We ask that each cohort updates their handbook before the end of their Fellowship. 

Are there any risks?

Health Education England and our overseas partner organisations take your security and safety as a TPHR Fellow seriously.  Before placing anybody as a TPHR Fellow, we make an independent judgement that security risks are at acceptable levels.  Avoiding unacceptable risk and minimising acceptable risk once you are on placement is a duty and responsibility shared by you, Health Education England and our overseas partners.  

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 TPHR Fellows to familiarise themselves with the latest FCDO travel advice.  

We will discuss at induction what to do in the event of an accident or emergency on placement. 

What should I do if I need emergency care?

You are required to note the 24-hour emergency number and other key numbers, keeping them on you at all times. In the event of an emergency, in the first instance please contact the insurer. Then, notify the overseas partner, followed by the TPHR Fellowship team. 

Information about the process is included in detail in the TPHR Fellowship ‘Fellows Handbook’ and as mentioned above will be discussed at induction. 

A copy of the TPHR Fellowship’s Schedule and Certificate of Insurance will be emailed to you before placement which we encourage you to read through. 

Is there a Code of Conduct for TPHR Fellows?

Yes, you are expected to abide by our TPHR Fellows Code of Conduct which is in the TPHR Fellowship ‘Fellows handbook’, and we ask that you confirm in writing that you have read it before going on placement. 

What is the dress code on placement?

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 FCDO website

Can I socialise with local staff?

The TPHR Fellowship is funded by the Thai Consortium of Medical Schools so although you are not employed by the NHS whilst on placement, 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 placement are forbidden – see Code of Conduct in the Fellow’s Handbook. 

Can I have visitors?

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

Are there any occasions where my placement would be shorter than planned?

Your status as a TPHR Fellow 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, for example, 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 placement?

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 after your placement.  

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 TPHR Fellowship 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-placement?

On return to UK you will be expected to complete any outstanding assignments as detailed in the TPHR Fellowship ‘Fellows Handbook’, meet with your mentor, and make a short presentation which describes your work and personal learning to future TPHR Fellows and others allied to the TPHR Fellowship. These events are usually held in the evening. 

Can I submit my research or experience for publication?

We support and encourage this, however, you are required to seek approval from the TPHR Fellowship team and overseas partner before publishing any material connected with your placement. 

If you still have questions having read this information, please visit the TPHR Programme page or email ThailandPHResearch@hee.nhs.uk.