This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

A faulty production line

GMC to target all international doctors for 'welcome to UK' programme

The GMC is set to target all newly-arrived international doctors for its 'welcome to UK' training program, in a bid to reduce the number of complaints they will face.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said this comes as internationally qualified doctors are ‘much more likely to be complained about in their first years of practice in the UK’.

The induction of international doctors into the NHS is ‘generally pretty poor’ and expanding the GMC's program is a ‘straightforward intervention’ against the high number of complaints, he added.

The free, half-day ‘Welcome to UK practice’ programme was launched by the GMC in 2014 and looks at the ethical challenges that face doctors in UK practice. As it stands, only about a third of international doctors take part.

Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum event today, Mr Massey said: ‘We know that within the NHS, we rely enormously on doctors from overseas coming to work within the NHS but we are generally pretty poor at inducting them into working within the NHS.

‘We know that a doctor who is qualified overseas is much more likely to be complained about in their first years of practice in the UK.'

According to the GMC’s latest State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK, GPs that graduated internationally are one of two ‘groups with a higher rate of being complained about’ – the other being male doctors.

Furthermore, the report said: ‘GPs who graduate outside the UK are generally more likely to receive a sanction or a warning compared with those who graduate in the UK.’

Mr Massey said: ‘There’s a fairly simple “so what” question that arises, which is how do we provide better induction training so that those doctors can land in UK practice safely – and these aren’t questions of competence.’

Mr Massey said doctors from overseas have ‘a different set of cultural norms in terms of dealing with questions like confidentiality and consent.’

In the GMC’s business plan for 2018, it set a target for ‘80% participation for all doctors new to practice or to the country’ in the induction programme.

However, today he said: ‘We’ve set up our own "welcome to UK practice" training. The sadness is that at the moment we only get about a third of doctors moving to UK practice attending that and we set out an ambition to get as close to 100% as possible.

‘That’s a relatively straightforward intervention to be put in place.’

The expansion of the programme comes as the Home Office confirmed its plans to lift the cap on the number of international doctors granted visas to work in the UK.

Meanwhile, the GMC’s own council papers revealed last week that the number of international doctors applying to train in the NHS has increased significantly in the last year.

The GMC has faced huge criticism in recent months from the medical profession for going to the High Court in order to strike off Nigerian-born Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter.

This led to an ongoing review into why black and minority ethnic doctors are more likely to face complaints from employers than their white colleagues.

Readers' comments (18)

  • The GMC is trying to increase its subscriptions and is blaming an inadequate induction of international doctors rather than its over bearing regulation for the complaints. Warning to all international doctors coming: The UK has an anti-doctor mentality and a sense of entitlement and demands from patients who all do not pay and make unlimited demands. The government stokes up demands but does not give us the staffing or the funding. Your professional skills and freedom are curtailed with who you can refer, who or what you can operate, what scans you can order and what you can prescribe leading to deskilling. New GDPR rules you have to deal with. Most of all the system is biased against you and you risk being struck off and not being able to practice in other countries. If unlucky, you might even be charged with Gross negligence manslaughter and end up in jail. I point to a case where a mother gave a blood pressure pill to a septic patient that died with a lot of system failings but the doctor got charged. Think twice before coming. I would leave if I was younger and circumstances allow. Don't come it is too risky although the doctors would welcome your help if you do come but the system is against you. One more thing to add, the tax and pension system will make sure you do not do well even if you work hard.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Cultural differences are a fact of life. What makes it interesting is how the host nation responds. There needs to be a degree of tolerance and understanding from both sides cough cough CSA cough

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Charlie can't tell the difference between 'practice safely' and not get complaints! (or other forms of expressed or unexpressed disappointment). How does he deal with his associates dinner wishes? I'll have chocolate pudding! I'll have lobster and champagne! etc

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Council of Despair

    one of the things that is never mentioned is that the local population don't want foreign doctors - so it seems wrong that a branch of the UK government i.e. NHS is trying to encourage innocent enthusiastic professionals into the UK knowing that the British taxpayer doesn't want them AND if you upset the local British taxpayer the very same organisation that has recruited you will hang you out to dry.

    do yourself a favour and stay clear of the UK.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It was not DR BG who moved poor Jack from CAU to ward 28. Who was this person and why did he/she do it ?
    Why does Dr BG get the manslaughter charge.? Guess. No one even asks about the 7 pm move. If Jack was so ill, how come? If Jack was bouncing about how is Dr BG responsible?
    Welcome to the UK.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • All for one.

    The recent opiate case is only going to worsen the publics' perception of GPs. I wouldn't be surprised if the next BG case involves a GP.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been removed by the moderator as it breaches Pulse's rules for commenting on online stories:

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • from the photograph of charlie it looks like he is morphing into Sir Les Patterson

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say