Ways in which healthcare organisations can support overseas-qualified doctors in the UK

Charlotte Rothwell1, Gill Morrow2, Bryan Burford1 and Jan Illing1

1Centre for Medical Education Research, Durham University, School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, UK

2Research, Durham University, School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, UK

Submitted: 14/11/2012; Accepted: 02/04/2013; Published: 21/04/2013

Int J Med Educ. 2013; 4:75-82; doi: 10.5116/ijme.515a.2231

© 2013 Charlotte Rothwell et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: To identify what healthcare organisations, including medical regulators, can do to address the issues and concerns faced by overseas-qualified doctors when moving to the UK.

Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with sixty-six doctors who had qualified outside the UK and who were entering the first year of the UK Foundation Programme (FY1, equivalent to the intern year). Doctors were interviewed three times at different points in that year. In addition twelve telephone interviews were conducted with educational supervisors. A grounded theory approach was used to analyse the findings.

Results: Issues and concerns were found to relate to: practical and logistical difficulties; gaps in declarative knowledge relevant to the UK, for example, use of equipment and drug names; structural differences, for example, organisational elements of working in the NHS, and differences in the relational aspects of professional work and clinical care, stemming from training in different models of healthcare.

Conclusions: Agencies at different levels - government, regulator and employer - have a role to play in supporting overseas-doctors in their transition, and it is suggested that a co-ordinated approach would have benefits for doctors and patients.