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How do foreign doctors find working in the NHS?

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: (Published 19 July 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p1618

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How can I make international trainees feel welcome?

  1. Richard Hurley, collections editor
  1. The BMJ

Despite the warm welcome, foreign doctors experience specific challenges that could hinder retention. Richard Hurley speaks to some of the international medical graduates who help keep the NHS running

The NHS has long relied on professionals from abroad. Last year, a third of the 136 322 doctors working in NHS hospital and community services in England reported a non-British nationality—representing 168 other counties,1 including Egypt, India, Ireland, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Although employers, colleagues, and patients are mostly welcoming, insufficient initial and ongoing support, social isolation, arduous visa and exam requirements, and racism can lead to demoralisation, anxiety, and burnout. Attention to these challenges could help improve recruitment and retention of the international medical graduates (IMGs), crucial to tackling chronic NHS understaffing to the tune of 12 000 hospital doctors.2

Ashwin Pandey, senior fellow in infectious diseases, London

From India

In the UK since 2016

IMGs coming for fellowships expect to get accredited training. But soon you realise that you …

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