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Why should the NHS employ international doctors?

  • April 16, 2018

For long periods of time the NHS has faced workforce shortages, however, in recent years the recruitment of international doctors has been crucial in enhancing the UK health system. Research shows that over a third of doctors on the medical register gained their primary medical qualification outside of the UK. Every international doctor comes to the UK for a variety of reasons which include an increased opportunity for career development, higher standards of teaching, to pursue postgraduate training or for better working conditions and pay.

Employing an international doctor on a permanent basis will improve the diversity within the profession to reflect a changing population, fill shortages in specialties and provide a fresh approach to healthcare. As an NHS hospital, there are many advantages to hiring a permanent international doctor in comparison to a locum, which are stated below.

1. Reduced Cost

The NHS locum sector spends over £250 million a month on agency costs. This is money which could go to increasing the number of hospital beds, medical research, staff well-being or staff pay. From the beginning of January 2018, BDI Resourcing has saved the NHS £10.5 million. How? We bridge the gap between supply and demand that is prevalent in many niche areas of medicine. Our solution is clear: we match top healthcare talent from around the world with top healthcare providers in the UK. We have a global reach of 12,000 potential candidates and counting.

2. Training within the NHS

The NHS prides itself on being committed to training their staff to reach full potential. This is to ensure that NHS doctors maintain and develop the knowledge and skills they require to meet the needs of their job and the service. This training can be achieved through education or skill-based learning. Development opportunities are available for all staff and clinical and educational supervisors will discuss training and development at appraisals and team meetings.

The facility to offer training to international doctors has many advantages.

1. Improved Patient Care - Doctors who are beginning their career with the NHS will be committed, eager and motivated. Training increases an individual’s loyalty to an organisation and they are more likely to want to stay with the employer. This will create a consistent and cohesive approach to patient care.

2. A Means of Developing a Skilled, Motivated and Quality Workforce – Training will allow doctors to develop specialist knowledge and keep up to date with the latest technology and working practices. This ability to train will allow doctors to carry out their job successfully, feel satisfied with their position and stay with the NHS Trust for a long period of time.

3. Cost Effective – Training international doctors, over employing locums for short periods of time, will be cost-effective resultant of lower overall training and recruitment costs.

4. Reduced Shortage - Staff shortage is the ‘single biggest risk’ facing the NHS, with nearly three-quarters of all medical specialties having unfilled training posts and the number of applications to UK medical schools decreasing for the third year in a row. To address this workforce crisis, it is important for the NHS to maintain their ability to recruit from overseas. With 26% of NHS staff being non-British it is important that the UK has a flexible immigration system post-Brexit so it can recruit and retain enough doctors.

In addition, increased employment of international doctors will create improved workforce planning this will ensure that all NHS department will not be inappropriately or understaffed. Furthermore, the recruitment of international doctors will improve staff health and well-being resultant of the reduction of pressure and stress which derives from the demands of the service.

5. BDI Resourcing provides expert doctors

We recognise that each doctor and hospital has different needs and requirements, therefore, we offer a truly tailored service to both our candidates and clients to ensure satisfaction for both parties’.

When we provide an NHS Trust with a selection of candidates, they will all hold a recognised primary medical qualification, evidenced English language capability, and a GMC recognised postgraduate qualification or PLAB – meeting the requirements for GMC Registration.

If you are an NHS hospital and you are currently facing staff shortage issues in the following specialties then get in contact with us at [email protected] or if you are an international doctor looking for an NHS post please email your CV to [email protected]

Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor! Here, you will have access to frequent relocation blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional support and the chance to meet other IMGs!

Specialties we can help with:


-Emergency Medicine

-General Medicine







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