A unique initiative aimed at supporting medical graduates from overseas is being rolled out from the end of June at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.
Sponsored by Health Education England and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, in partnership with the University of Manchester, the Medical Intern Programme supports International Medical Graduates (IMGs) – who currently make up 25% of the NHS medical workforce - in making the transition into UK practice.
The Medical Intern Programme is the first of its kind – it features a two month observation and induction to the NHS and UK culture, which is something that hasn’t yet been done elsewhere - and will see 9 IMGs from Egypt working at Royal Preston Hospital from August. The graduates will undertake a two-year part-time Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Practice with the University of Manchester.
Professor Mark Pugh, Consultant in Anaesthetics and Critical Care at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals is the Programme Director for the Trust. He said:
“This programme is the result of us wanting to provide valuable support for doctors new to UK practice. That means addressing cultural and social issues, teaching new doctors the structure of the NHS and ensuring they have adequate time to settle into their new lives and undertake educational training. The transition for overseas medical graduates can present challenges. Despite being very experienced, having completed 18 months of training in their country of origin and being fully registered with the General Medical Council, these graduates can struggle to secure core and specialist training posts.
“The Medical Intern Programme gives our IMGs a smooth transition into UK practice, preparing them to provide the high standard of service our patients expect from the first day they are working in our hospitals. We are extremely grateful for the support of both Health Education England and the University of Manchester in delivering this programme, and we are really looking forward to welcoming our new colleagues.”
The Medical Intern Programme provides a two-month ‘induction and introduction’ period for IMGs, where they are brought into the NHS workforce and receive the training and academic credentials required to secure positions in Specialist Clinical Training Programmes.
Partnering with the University of Manchester, a Russell Group university, is also a first for projects of this kind.
Professor of Health Professional Education at the University of Manchester and Programme Director, Jo Hart, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals on this programme, which will help to welcome international graduates to the UK and give them everything they need to kick-start their careers in medicine. The Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Practice is something we created especially for this project, to ensure the graduates have access to the best possible educational training. We have already received excellent feedback from our external advisor who reviewed the course, who said that the diploma will be attractive to overseas doctors with a huge amount of potential to grow.”
Dr Geraldine Skailes, Medical Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “While historically, our region has had difficulty in recruitment and retention of the medical workforce, our Trust has an excellent track record of innovation within both undergraduate and postgraduate education. The Medical Intern Programme is a fantastic addition to the portfolio of training opportunities already provided at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, and we are confident it will help to guarantee the recruitment and retention of high calibre international colleagues in the future.”
The Medical Intern Programme was developed thanks to a bid for funding secured by Health Education England, and will be developed into a blueprint in the near future, to be used by trusts across the UK.