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A deanery for international graduates: five minutes with . . . Pala Rajesh

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 31 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2402
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

The vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh discusses the newly launched International Postgraduate Deanery

“The college has been working with international medical graduates for the past 25 years. The first programme that we ran was called the international medical graduate sponsorship scheme and about four years ago we introduced the international surgical fellowship programme, which provided quality assurance for trainees from overseas. Both of these programmes have now evolved and come together to form the International Postgraduate Deanery, led by our international postgraduate dean, Stuart Clark.

“A deanery provides external quality assurance as well as pastoral care. Trainees arriving in a new country often have questions, and the deanery is available to answer those and to provide feedback.

“The surgical trainees come to work in the UK for between 12 and 24 months, and at the end of the programme they return to their home countries. Every doctor placed on the scheme has already done their postgraduate surgical training in their home countries. They have assessed the needs in their country and are coming to the UK to gain experience in a specialist area, such as maxillofacial surgery, paediatric cardiac surgery, or specialist orthopaedic practices. We are extremely aware of not creating a brain drain and the immigration policy is such that we could not do that anyway.

“The surgical trainee, the training organisation that they come from, and the UK organisation that they are trained in all benefit. Trainees are often placed in organisations where the consultants are fellows of our college. Sometimes these consultants select the candidates that they want to send to the UK, but most of the time the trainees themselves choose to come here because of the quality of education that they will receive.

“The UK trusts who train these doctors also benefit because if they impart good education they’ll get positive feedback, which will in turn help them recruit other trainees. Having good quality doctors from overseas coming to train in the UK allows local trainees spend more time training and can help tackle the workforce shortage that we have in this country.

“The college has visited a number of trusts to get them involved and to tell them more about the international trainees. The trainees will be carefully selected, their credentials will be scrutinised, and they will be supervised by both their trainer and the college.”

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