Re: Trusts are accused of using foreign doctors as “cheap labour” in fellowship schemes

I Agree

Dear Editor

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh are grateful to the BMJ for raising awareness about the challenges facing International Medical Graduates seeking training within the UK. The NHS has long benefited from the knowledge and expertise of talented doctors from all specialties who have qualified outside of the UK and, in many instances, it has provided high quality training in return.

However, the experience can vary depending on the support IMGs are provided with as well as the training on offer within each unit, and the College recognises the plight of trainees who have been subject to pay and conditions that fall below those of their UK colleagues.

RCSEd launched the International Postgraduate Deanery after 25 years of supporting internationally qualified surgeons, to advocate on behalf of IMGs, and ensure that they are honoured with the appropriate training for their grade, as well as pastoral support and guidance throughout the duration of their training post.

It is a condition of the MTI visa that all applicants must provide proof of funding, whether from the NHS employer or a sponsor, and it is expected that salaries will match that of a UK NTN at the same level of training. In turn, the IMG will provide service to support the NHS.

RCSEd International Postgraduate Deanery trainees all have an assigned Educational Supervisor who will work with them to ensure that an appropriate training plan is set in place to meet the demands of their home healthcare system, as well as one that meets the needs and ambitions of the trainee.

Colleges have a vital role in ensuring there is a professional home for IMGs whilst they are in the UK, as a third-party advocate for the trainee and in support of the host consultant adapting to working with doctors coming from a different healthcare system. Colleges have a duty to provide support to IMGs in the form of non-technical skills training, robust induction, and safeguarding their working conditions whilst training in the UK. Where the role of education and training is diminished, we are letting down the highly skilled doctors seeking to work and train here, and we risk damaging the UK’s reputation as a centre of training excellence.


Professor Rowan Parks, President
Professor Timothy Graham, Vice President
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

No competing Interests: 
No competing interests
The following competing Interests: 
The College’s IPD is a not for profit scheme as part of our overall charitable activities. The IPD fees cover administration costs, with any surplus ringfenced to support the College’s charitable activity internationally.

Electronic Publication Date: 
Friday, November 24, 2023 – 08:50
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Re: Trusts are accused of using foreign doctors as “cheap labour” in fellowship schemes

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Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DW
President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd)
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Professor Timothy Graham (VP of RCSEd)
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
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