Relocation Guide


As a healthcare professional, we believe Essex has a lot to offer. More than this, primary care workers within GP practices across the county agree, listing career opportunities, excellent work-life balance, improved quality of life, less pollution (compared with living in the capital), gorgeous countryside, seaside scenery and high-quality educational establishments as just some of their reasons. Not to mention that most Essex regions have cheaper living costs than life in London – meaning the county serves as an often-ideal balance between city life and affordable living. 

When looking to make a move – location is everything. Your personal circumstances – such as your age, how far into your career or training you are, career aspirations, your familial and financial circumstances – will inform your requirements, not to mention personal preference.

If you, or you and your family are considering a move to Essex, read on for some resources that can help to inform your choice – but also visit our other Why Essex? pages for more information about why we – and our teams – believe Essex is a great place to live and work.


Essex Regions

North East Essex

Bordering Suffolk and the furthest area in Essex from the capital, including Colchester and surrounding countryside such as Dedham Vale and Manningtree. An area rich in Roman history and naturally beautiful scenery, affordable housing and excellent education options, this is an area popular with families and those ‘just starting out’. Classic seaside towns such as Clacton-on-Sea is also a popular spot to retire.

Colchester is the location of Colchester General Hospital (where GP Specialist Training takes place) as well as the main campus of University of Essex which offers many both undergraduate and postgraduate courses for those looking to start, or further, their nursing or healthcare careers.

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Mid Essex

Comprising the county’s only city – Chelmsford, known as ‘the birthplace of radio’ – as well as towns such as Braintree and Maldon. For those looking to relocate from London, this region may represent ‘the best of both’. A vibrant city, Chelmsford is known for its world-class nightlife and wide selection of bars, clubs and restaurants – perhaps more reminiscent of the London lifestyle than some other places in the county. A train back to the capital takes little over half an hour, with multiple connections to other areas of the county for exploration.

As well as Chelmsford itself, there is no shortage of locations for a shopping trip in this region, including Braintree Village outlet shopping a short distance from the A12.

As well as a location for GP Specialist Training, at Broomfield Hospital, just outside of Chelmsford’s city centre, this is also the location of Anglia Ruskin University, where students can train in Essex’s first School of Medicine, or undertake a range of undergraduate and postgraduate nursing and healthcare courses.

West Essex

GP Specialist Training within the west Essex region is based at the Princess Alexandria Hospital in Harlow with placements in training practices in the Harlow area and surrounding towns.

With excellent transport links to London, the M25, the rest of Essex and surrounding counties – as well as Stansted Airport – and continuing plans to develop and regenerated the area with stylish new homes and open spaces, in addition to the presence of the award-winning Harlow Town Park, Harlow is a great spot for undertaking your training or seeking your next step in your healthcare career. The nearby Epping Forest region – also home to a campus of the New City College – is even directly connected to the capital by the Central Line, making this a very viable option for those who wish to hold on to many of the perks offered the London lifestyle – without the associated price tags.

Stansted Airport Image


South West Essex

While known as a large commuter town, Basildon – also known for its wide selection of shops and buzzing nightlife – is an area still undergoing extensive development to retail, schools, and recreation, offering many of the benefits of living in London, with far more affordable rates of housing and living.

Thurrock’s Lakeside Shopping Centre is also a notable draw to the area, with nearby towns of Purfleet and Grays seeing some of the lowest house prices for first time buyers – all in a spot with excellent transport links to the M25, A12 and beyond. For families, this is a great area on the education front, with there are a number of high-performing schools to look into in areas such as Billericay and Brentwood, and colleges such as South Essex College offering adults courses to help get started in a healthcare career.

Foundation Trainees interested in this area can complete GP Specialist Training in Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals with placements in a number of nearby practices.

South East Essex

The coastal area of south east Essex, particularly towns such as Southend-on-Sea and Westcliff-on-Sea, are well known for drawing tourists to the beautiful beaches, but this region is also a great place to live, especially for families as well as individuals undertaking a career in primary care. Some of the schools within the area, which include grammar schools, are ranked highly in the country as well as the county – and only minutes from some of the most iconic beaches and attractions.

As well as easy access to the M25, London, the rest of the county and beyond via the A13, this area benefits from the award-winning London Southend airport, connecting you to locations further afield.

GP Specialist Training in this area takes place out of one or more of Southend’s University Hospitals.

Leigh On SeaJPG

Resources for Healthcare Professionals

Places you can find out more about the support and information available to healthcare and medical professionals countywide, as well as in specific areas of Essex, are below:

Essex CCGs – the Clinical Commissioning Groups in Essex are responsible for planning and commissioning health care services within their area, which includes assessing local healthcare needs and developing strategies to meet those needs. Find out more about how the CCG in your area can support you as a primary care professional on our CCGs page.

Essex LMC – North & South Essex Local Medical Committees; professional and personal support to GPs, with an aim to ensure high quality and sustainable general practice within Essex

Essex EQUIP – Education & Quality in Practice; working with stakeholders to provide and support training, career and developmental opportunities for all primary care professionals, with the aim of improving the quality of care across the county

RCGP – the Royal College of General Practitioners are the professional membership body for doctors in the UK as well as overseas, guarding standards of GPs and working to promote excellence within primary healthcare

NHS Careers – a great resource if you’re looking for information about the NHS, training and apprenticeships or simply for guidance about the next step to take in your healthcare career

HCPC – the Health & Care Professions Council; supported by a network of specialist teams, advisory committees and partners, the HCPC regulate 15 health and care professions (including paramedics and occupational therapists) to help maintain a high standard of care for the public

HEE – Health Education England strives to support the delivery of high standards of healthcare to patients, ensuring NHS workforce and students have all the skills and values they need to excel – now and for the future.

GP Specialist Training in Essex

There are five locations in Essex where Foundation Trainee doctors can apply for GP Specialist Training – meaning if you see general practice in your future, you’ve got a wealth of options available to you in Colchester, Chelmsford, Harlow, Basildon and Southend-on-Sea. While you’re based within the university hospitals in these locations, training includes placements within local, high-performing practices, giving you the chance to really immerse yourself within the vibrant, diverse communities for which Essex is known, whilst you learn.

Read more about why you should choose to undertake your GP Specialist Training in Essex – including more information about all five training locations.

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