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Refugee doctors, in spite of having re-qualified for practice in the UK, find it tremendously difficult to enter employment due to lack of experience in UK and no references.

Many find it difficult to return to work because of prolonged absence from medical practice and hands on experience. Extra help is needed to build the confidence of refugee doctors and in turn help them to gain experience within NHS Wales.

In order to facilitate entry into the NHS we created Supernumerary (Foundation training level) posts. These posts are available for refugee doctors who have successfully completed Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) 2 examination, who are not registered with the GMC and are ‘job ready’. Each post is for six months duration at a time. During the time in post the refugee doctor is actively encouraged to apply for substantive posts and supported by the Professional Support Unit (PSU). The process enables the participants to gain sufficient experience in NHS Wales, fill the career gap in their curriculum vitae and help with acquiring references.

Induction programme for supernumerary posts

The doctors attend an intensive induction programme prior to commencing in post which consists of:

  • an introduction to NHS structures
  • the role of regulatory and other bodies including the GMC, Health Boards, Royal Colleges, NCAS
  • duties of a doctor as set out in GMC Good Medical Practice
  • an outline of medical training in the UK
  • cultural and ethical issues in the UK that affect medical practice
  • the opportunity to sit in and observe in a particular setting to enable the doctor to achieve a greater understanding of the requirements of a doctor working in that setting
  • communication and consultation skills
  • hospital at night
  • taking bloods, completing forms, pharmacy
  • portfolios and requirements to maintain CPD, appraisals and revalidation requirements
  • performance management
  • careers guidance
  • equality and diversity.

This has proved extremely successful in preparing the doctors for working in an NHS environment.

The supernumerary posts have been created in order to empower refugee doctors in Wales and to help fulfil the current and future workforce needs of NHS Wales and work towards the Welsh Government’s strategic manpower planning.