Evaluation of Welcome to UK practice

Why did we commission this research?

Overseas doctors make a huge and much-needed contribution to our health workforce. But adapting to UK medical practice can be hard, regardless of where they are from, or their experience. 

Welcome to UK practice (WtUKP) is a free half-day workshop offered to doctors who gained their primary medical qualification overseas and are either working or considering working in the UK. It aims to help newly registered doctors to better understand the ethical and professional standards expected of them when working in the UK. Since 2013 over 8,000 overseas doctors have signed up to one of our sessions.

We commissioned this independent evaluation to explore the impact of the programme on supporting doctors who qualified overseas to make a successful transition to working in the UK. We also wanted to identify how we could develop WtUKP in the future.

What did the research involve?

Over a 12 month period, Newcastle University undertook an independent evaluation of WtUKP to explore the short and long term impact of the programme and identify opportunities for improvement. A sample of more than 400 doctors were surveyed before and after attending a workshop. Alongside this, researchers also conducted focus groups and interviews with overseas qualified doctors, supervisors and the WtUKP workshop facilitators.

What were the key findings?

  • Immediately after attending WtUKP, doctors reported significantly improved awareness and understanding of key ethical issues and how to apply our guidance to deliver safe care. Attendees also sharpened their patient communication skills and gained a clearer idea of their own learning needs. 
  • After three months, researchers spoke again to participants and saw that many improvements were still in place. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed said they had changed their practise as a result of the training. But the researchers also found evidence that doctors felt slightly less able to apply our guidance in practice. The report highlights the need for a supportive environment so attendees are able to make full use what they’ve learned within WtUKP when caring for patients.
  • The research found that the majority of supervisors surveyed were unaware of Welcome to UK practice (WtUKP) or that their supervisees had attended. It also revealed a general lack of support for overseas doctors when they’re in practice. 

Read the full report

Evaluation of GMC Welcome to UK Practice