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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)

  • It could be an OSCE with different stations to acclimatise immigrant doctors.
    Station 1: nurses have put lidocaine in the water for flushing box - oops!
    Station 2: alone in a waiting room with 15 patients looking hopefully at you to help them. Around the room you hear voices from your registrar and consultant 'don't worry I'm at the end of the phone'. Here not here!
    Station 3: canteen closed 5 minutes before published closing time at lunch on a Sunday.
    Station 4: a door with baliffs demanding payment as trust didn't get round to paying you that month and apparently can only make payments once a month!
    Station 5: you need to print a blood form. Of the 3 in the room one has no printer ink; another keeps crashing; the third is guarding by a tough ward clerk who physically fights you away whenever you sit near it.
    Station 6: 3 patients who all need urgent jobs doing - every time you approach one your bleep starts screaming at you. If you ignore the bleep a middle aged women with a clipboard starts screaming at you about 'breeeeeech'.
    Station 7: Relatives of a patient you have never met screaming at you for something you had no part in.
    Station 8: The press at your door sticking cameras in your face and disturbing your family.
    Station 9: Judge and Jury
    Station 10: Inside of a jail cell furnished with a bunk bed, wash basin and a broken desk. Burly cell mate asks if you want to be 'top or bottom'.

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  • Council of Despair

    should change it to ' Welcome to UK penal system '

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  • How will a half day course prepare anyone from crap we face on a daily basis? Colouring books?

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  • Very well written big and small!

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  • a personal message to non UK doctors thinking of coming here.


    Why? The regulatory system is built on blame of individuals to deflect from government and funding inadequacy. There is a vicious anti doctor mentality in the media whipped up by years of government spin .

    You may do your absolute best here, do a good job and still be a target for greedy lawyers, vicious regulators and a corrupt state who will ruin your career and possibly much more.

    Don’t come here . Really don’t

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  • "Why? The regulatory system is built on blame of individuals to deflect from government and funding inadequacy. There is a vicious anti doctor mentality in the media whipped up by years of government spin ."

    A slight hyperbole but doctors in the UK are driven more by fear than anything thing else.

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  • Pulse Power(less) 50

    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.

    Interesting wording
    Target.... as in for persecution
    Complaints they WILL face
    ... not complaints they may face..

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  • Pulse Power(less) 50

    You cant please everyone
    some complaints are purely down to a need for the patient to be educated on the appropriate use of services or the appropriate issue of medications or sick notes

    A Very good doctor with very difficult patients can also have a lot of justified complaints to respond to
    I wish the GMC/ apraisal process could acknowledge that probity and good practice can sometimes lead to complaints aswell

    Rather than just blindly looking at the numbers

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  • A whole half day, huh? That should do it.

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  • Don't come to the UK. There are far better places to work who will treat you with respect. The UK has proved (as a profession, government, regulator and in many cases, the very populations you will be expected to look after in the under-doctored regions of the UK) that they don't respect or like immigrant doctors. Go to a country with far less racists.

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