Refugee doctors, in spite of having re-qualified for practice in the UK, find it tremendously difficult to enter employment due to lack of experience in UK and no references.
Many find it difficult to return to work because of prolonged absence from medical practice and hands on experience. Extra help is needed to build the confidence of refugee doctors and in turn help them to gain experience within the NHS in Wales.
In order to facilitate entry into the NHS we created Supernumerary (Foundation level) posts. These posts are allocated for refugee doctors who have successfully completed PLAB 2 examination, who are not registered with the GMC and are ‘job ready’. Each post is for 6 months duration at a time. During the time in post the refugee doctor is actively encouraged to apply for substantive posts and supported by the Professional Support Unit. The process enables the participants to gain sufficient experience in NHS Wales, fill the career gap in their curriculum vitae and help with acquiring references. The job descriptions include study leave and are compliant with equal opportunities.
Induction Programme for Supernumerary Posts
The doctors attend an intensive induction programme prior to commencing in post which consists of:
- An introduction to NHS structures
- The role of regulatory and other bodies including the GMC, Health Boards, Royal Colleges, NCAS
- Duties of a doctor as set out in GMC Good Medical Practice
- An outline of medical training in the UK
- Cultural and ethical issues in the UK that affect medical practice.
- The opportunity to sit in and observe in a particular setting to enable the doctor to achieve a greater understanding of the requirements of a doctor working in that setting
- Communication and consultation skills
- Hospital at Night
- Taking bloods, completing forms, pharmacy
- Portfolios and requirements to maintain CPD, appraisals and revalidation requirements
- Performance management
- Careers guidance
- Equality and Diversity
This has proved extremely successful in preparing the doctors for working in an NHS environment.
The Supernumerary posts have been created in order to empower refugee doctors in Wales and to help fulfil the current and future workforce needs of NHS Wales and work towards the Welsh Government’s strategic manpower planning.
- Wales Asylum Seeker and Refugee Doctors (WARD) Group:
WARD has been funded by the Wales Assembly Government for 13 recurrent years. Since its establishment in 2002, the number of asylum seeking and refugee doctors has grown from 16 to 171.
The project grew and the number of asylum and refugee doctors doubled within a year. In September 2002 the project received initial funding for a pilot project to assist in the implementation of a programme to address the education and training needs of refugee/asylum seeker doctors in Wales and to help the asylum seeking and refugee doctors to meet the standards required to pass the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board) tests. Since 2002, the governance of the project lies with the Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education, Cardiff University.
A number of refugees and asylum seekers, who are professionally trained as doctors have either moved to Wales or have been housed within Wales under the UK Governments’ dispersal scheme. The Welsh Assembly Government recognises that facilitating the integration of refugees and asylum seekers will assist in maintaining future doctors’ numbers within the NHS in Wales. Research conducted in 1996 established that there were 3,600 asylum seekers or refugees in Wales.
To date 171 doctors and dentists have benefited from the project.
The overall objective is to ensure that doctors seeking sanctuary in Wales can be presented with the opportunity to gain registration, thereby enabling them to develop and apply their skills within the NHS in Wales.