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Doctors enter UK not prepared for clinical work

GMC says more support is needed for overseas doctors

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 16 September 2011

Overseas doctors and locums in the UK take on duties for which they have ‘not been appropriately trained’.

This is the message from the General Medical Council (GMC) which today published its report: State of Medical Education and Practice in which it called for an induction programme to be set up for all doctors new to the UK health service.

Every year, around 12,000 doctors from the UK, Europe and countries around the world, start working in the UK for the first time. The recommendation for an induction programme for all doctors new to the UK health service comes from the first State of Medical Education report published by the GMC.

The report uses GMC and other data to provide a picture of the medical profession in the UK and identifies some of the challenges that persist. It concludes more needs to be done to ensure consistency of induction for all doctors, and especially for those coming here to work from outside the UK. This would ensure that they get an early understanding of the ethical and professional standards they will be expected to meet, and become familiar with how medicine is practised across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the report states.

While there are some good local schemes for supporting doctors who are new to practice, the GMC states, there is evidence of new doctors undertaking clinical practice with little or no preparation for working in the UK, or locum doctors taking on duties for which they have not been appropriately trained.

The GMC plans to work with doctors' employers and professional organisations to develop a basic induction programme for all doctors.

The Chief Executive of the General Medical Council Niall Dickson said: 'While there is much to celebrate about medical practice in the UK, the challenges are also clear - we must do more to make sure that all doctors understand the standards expected of them.

'Developing an induction programme for all doctors new to our register will give them the support they need to practise safely and to conform to UK standards. This will provide greater assurance to patients that the doctor treating them is ready to start work on day one.”

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