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What are the chances of a non-European Union resident getting a type 1 training number in orthopaedics? Is there any chance that I could be a consultant in orthopaedics in the United Kingdom? (I am a Pakistani national.)

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 19 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:s242
  1. Andy Goldberg, specialist registrar in orthopaedics
  1. Whittington Hospital NHS Trust


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Dr Phil Hammond, the comedian and general practitioner, has recently written a sitcom about an Asian orthopaedic surgeon who struggled to get the top London teaching hospital job that he wanted but instead was banished to the Isle of Wight. Sadly, this does reflect the prejudice that remains in the 21st century among the medical community.

“Racism blocks the career progression of doctors from ethnic minorities and from overseas,” a BMA report said (). It saddens me to quote such a line, but all the evidence is there that it is no doubt more difficult to get the job you want if you are from overseas. Saying that, there are plenty of senior orthopaedic surgeons in the United Kingdom who are not UK trained.

You must have the following to apply for such a post:

  • General Medical Council registration

  • MB BS or equivalent

  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians or fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, or equivalent

  • Advanced trauma life support certificate

  • Experience in recognised posts.

For further details approach the deanery of the region where you are interested in applying.

A consultant for whom I once worked whispered in my ear, “Don't worry about the job shortages, there's always room for the best.” I took this advice to heart and spent the next few years not worrying about what other people were doing and saying, instead striving for excellence and trying hard to achieve. I would now echo those sentiments to you. Yes, it will be harder for you to get a type 1 training number and it will be harder for you to get the job you want, but not impossible.

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