Date Published: 23 August 2005

BMA proposes specific training posts for overseas doctors working in the UK

Health News from the United Kingdom (UK).

Problems faced by overseas doctors in the UK could be reduced if they applied for earmarked training programmes, the BMA Junior Doctors Committee and the British International Doctors Association say in a joint discussion paper today (Tuesday 23 August, 2005).

Overseas doctors applying for training posts in England and Wales have found themselves caught up in intense competition, with recent adverts attracting over 1000 applicants.
Along with UK-trained colleagues, many are unable to find work.

The paper, 'International medical graduates: a fairer future', argues that the 'prolonged financial and emotional hardship' suffered by overseas junior doctors, could be reduced if they came to the UK only after being given a provisional offer of a training post.

Under the proposed system, doctors seeking training posts would sit the initial exams required to practise in the UK in their home countries. If successful, they would apply through a matching scheme to an International Foundation post, numbers of which would be based on the UK's workforce needs. After that, they could sit the final exam required to practise, and if successful could take up a place. Senior doctors applying for consultant or GP posts would not be required to go through the foundation programme.

The paper argues that this system would lessen the hardships suffered by overseas doctors in the UK by reducing the expense of visa renewals and the amount of time they spend unemployed. It would also give them a better introduction to the NHS, helping them to compete on a fairer basis for future posts, according to the paper.

Commenting on the joint proposals, Dr Rajat Gupta, Chairman of the Junior Doctors Forum of the British International Doctors Association, said:

"The current medical workforce planning crisis has hit overseas doctors the hardest. They've unfairly been given the impression that training posts are easy to come by, so they spend money coming to the UK and sitting exams, then find they can't get a job."

Dr Simon Calvert, deputy chairman of the BMA's Junior Doctors Committee, said:

"Training a doctor requires a huge investment, both from the doctor and from the taxpayer. If poor workforce planning means they don't get the opportunity to practise, that's a terrible waste. It's time we were more honest with overseas doctors about the jobs market the UK. While the NHS is reliant on international recruitment to fill senior posts, at the junior level the same opportunities simply don't exist."

Source: British Medical Association, UK
http://www.bma.org.uk

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