Increasing support for overseas doctors

We’re taking steps to help more overseas doctors attend our free Welcome to UK practice (WtUKP) induction workshops.

This follows new independent research, published today, which confirms that doctors benefit these workshops but that it can be difficult to attend once they’ve started work. 

Key findings

Last year we asked researchers from Newcastle University to help us evaluate the training. We also wanted to identify how we could improve attendance, and our offer to employers and doctors. A sample of more of 400 doctors were surveyed before and after attending a WtUKP workshop. The results showed: 

  • two-thirds of those who took part changed their practice after attending the training 
  • participants significantly improved their awareness and understanding of key ethical issues, and how to apply our guidance to deliver safe care
  • attendees sharpened their patient communication skills and gained a clearer idea of their own learning needs.

However, despite these positive outcomes, the research findings confirmed that employers are often unaware of the training. They also concluded that supportive environments are key to enabling attendees to put into practice what they’ve learned.

Working with you for an easier transition 

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’re from, or what experience they have. Our WtUKP training programme can make this transition easier. But we also need individual employers to actively encourage their doctors to attend, so that they’re better prepared to practice medicine and treat patients, safely and more quickly. 

We’re taking steps to act on the evaluation, to provide everyone with more options and flexibility including: 

  • providing new sessions on Sundays, and arranging more evening and Saturday workshops, to meet local demand
  • piloting combined workshops with other registration activities, such as ID checks 
  • running regional ‘catchment area’ workshops at further locations UK-wide. We’re working closely with partners, including trusts and royal colleges, to host WtUKP workshops, making use of their venues, networks and induction programmes 
  • using our data to identify doctors who haven’t attended so that we can work with employers to arrange workshops within their area.

Dr Doyin Atewologun and Roger Kline’s Fair to refer? report, also recommended that we expand WtUKP, so that more overseas doctors, as well as employers and ultimately patients, can benefit from this support. This was one of a range of actions directed us, employers and others, to help tackle disproportionate referrals of some doctors to our fitness to practise processes.

Next steps

We also want to work with you, employers and supervisors to explore other ways we could encourage more doctors to attend. Some organisations have found it useful to include our workshops as a standard part of their induction checklists – our goal is for this to become the norm.

If you recruited internationally qualified doctors who are new to the UK in 2019 or plan to in 2020, please request a workshop through our online form.

If you would like further information please visit our WtUKP pages. We would be grateful if you could share this with any doctors who are eligible to attend our workshops so that they are aware of the support available.