Investing in learning and training refugee doctors

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SUMMARYBackground:Medically qualified refugees seek to build a new life and return to clinical medicine. The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK needs to develop a workforce to meet the needs of the communities it serves, and refugee doctors have the potential to contribute to the NHS, using their experience and skills to benefit patients.Methods:Fifty-four per cent of refugee doctors in the UK live in London, so in response, the London Deanery (Postgraduate Department of Medical and Dental Education, London University) has undertaken a series of initiatives over the past 8 years assisting refugee doctors back into medical employment. Clinical attachments, supernumerary 6-month posts and general practitioner (GP) training rotations have been offered. The projects, doctors involved, educational provision and outcomes are reported. The obstacles and barriers to returning to substantive posts in medicine are also discussed.Results:Fifty-six per cent of the refugee doctors were known to be working after the schemes, 52 per cent gained substantive posts and 39 per cent entered training grades.Discussion:Investing in innovative and creative work-based training programmes for refugee doctors is worthwhile, but needs to be adequately resourced if refugee doctors are to bring ultimate benefit to the NHS.

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