More than one in three doctors registered in the UK qualified abroad. The NHS relies heavily on the skills and dedication of these overseas doctors and could not continue without them.
Being a doctor in the UK requires much more than clinical expertise. It is also important to have the communication skills, knowledge of the UK medical ethics and culture, and an understanding of how the NHS works
The report noted that the majority of overseas doctors come to the UK with, ‘’little or no preparation for working in the UK.’’ Those trained under different cultural and professional standards face significant challenges adjusting to a different cultural, ethical and professional environment in the UK, and need more support. Issues may relate to doctor-patient, doctor-doctor, doctor-non-clinical NHS professional relationships.
The following experiences have been identified by the Wessex PSW:
- Language and communication difficulties (especially with handling sensitive situations and avoiding misunderstanding)
- Different approaches to working with patients and colleagues
- Lack of understanding of current NHS expectations of a doctor
- Lack of confidence
Case managers may identify that a doctor requires cultural support. The doctor will be offered (up to four) confidential, individual support sessions with a cultural expert, to enable them to explore their specific challenges.
The cultural expert aims to increase the doctor’s self-awareness and help them identify ways of addressing and resolving the issues raised. At the end of the session the cultural expert will provide the case manager with a report of the sessions’ conclusion.
The cultural experts working in the Wessex PSW are: