Page 4 - international medical graduates.jpgDozens of international medical graduates (IMGs) are set to benefit from a clinical attachment programme which will see them spend two weeks in a Royal Free London department.

The programme is open to graduates who complete their education in medicine abroad, and provides them with a first step into the NHS, an opportunity to interact with teams and meet other people in a similar position to them.

Zarina Khan, head of quality, postgraduate medical education, said the programme fills a gap in London.

“My inbox gets at least three or four requests a week from doctors overseas or who recently moved to the UK who are looking for an attachment or an observership, and consultants in the trust also let me know they’ve had similar requests,” Zarina said.

“A lot of senior doctors in the trust want to give back and help others into the system so we thought it would be a good idea to create a coordinated scheme to offer that.”

The programme was piloted at the Royal Free Hospital in February and saw over 580 applications for just 20 places on the programme.

Those who were chosen to participate were matched with their area of interest as much as possible, ranging from neurology, oncology, to obstetrics and gynaecology, epidemiology and trauma and orthopaedics, amongst others.

Page 4 - Wahidul Khan.jpgWahidul Khan (pictured), from London but educated in Bulgaria, took part in the pilot. He spent two weeks in general surgery at the Royal Free Hospital, with a focus on colorectal surgery.

“When I came in I was expecting to just be shadowing doctors, but there was a full introduction on the first day with presentations about what to expect,” he said.

“On the ward I really enjoyed getting to know the first year junior doctors as they are on a similar level to me. Everyone made me feel as if I was part of the team which has helped me build confidence in applying for a role in the NHS. I was also in theatres for a six-hour abdominal reconstruction surgery, and as a junior doctor that is amazing to witness.

“There are lots of us who are born and raised in the UK but graduate from abroad and an opportunity like this is very special to learn more about the NHS. We sometimes feel imposter syndrome, but once here you realise you are more than capable of working in the NHS. The Royal Free London is definitely somewhere I can see myself working in the future.”

Page 4 - Mahnoor Bokhari.jpgMahnoor Bokhari (pictured above), also took part in the programme, being placed in cardiology.

“The NHS is really different to what I’m used to in Pakistan, particularly the digital systems so the two weeks have been really helpful. I now know more about the structure of the NHS and how everything works, and what is required of a junior doctor in applying for future jobs.

“It was also quite a social experience,” she said. “I met a lot of people in the same boat as me. During lunch breaks we would meet up and discuss the wards and how things were going.”

Application for the next cohort of the IMG clinical attachment programme are now open. This will take place from 3-14 June 2024. Applications close on Friday 26 April.

Those interested can complete this application form and email with any questions.