It is a good idea for all international doctors new to working in the UK to attend a course or training programme aimed at helping doctors understand the ethical challenges faced in UK practice. We advise all IMGs to take part.
The NHS relies on overseas doctors to deliver the highest quality of healthcare, and so are now taking extra steps to ensuring that they are addressing some of the vital aspects of settling into the system that have perhaps been missed in the past, and that other healthcare systems perhaps don’t offer. As such the GMC have considered the following questions:
how to provide a better induction so that doctors can practice safely
how do we help doctors to work to a different set of social norms, such as when dealing with confidentiality and consent
how do we ensure that overseas doctors have a successful first year in the NHS
In doing so they have established the free training programme ‘Welcome to UK Practice’, which is designed to help doctors adjust and adapt to work in the UK, and subsequently the NHS. It addresses the fact that there can be differences in practicing medicine across the world, as well as the time it can take to adjust to a new culture at work. It offers practical workshops and guidance through ethical scenarios, as well as the opportunity to work with and meet other IMGs coming to practice in the UK.
The GMC also offer workshops designed to guide doctors with their practice, covering topics such as confidentiality, raising a concern, use of social media, consent & making joint decisions, and leadership & management.
We recommend attending the ‘Welcome to UK Practice’ course before you start working in the UK, or the very least just after you start your new post in the NHS. Not only will this give you a boost in terms of how to approach your new role, working with peers, senior colleagues and patients, but it will also give you a chance to discuss your concerns with doctors in similar situations. It is a great forum and platform for a successful first year in the NHS.