Project aims to train refugee doctors for Scotland's health service
Refugee doctors are to be retrained to work with the NHS in Scotland.
Around £160,000 of Scottish Government cash will fund the New Refugee Doctors Project which is believed to be unique in the UK in supporting medically trained and qualified refugees.
It will enable them to achieve medical registration and contribute their skills to NHS Scotland, as well as offering a long-term package of support.
Run by the Bridges Programme in partnership with the BMA and NHS Education for Scotland, and Clyde College and the City of Glasgow College, the funding will help suitably qualified refugees access training, language support and professional mentoring to help them meet the standards for professional registration with the General Medical Council.
Equalities secretary Angela Constance announced the funding at Kersland House Surgery in Milngavie, which will be involved in the training of refugee doctors.
She said: “This programme – unique in the UK – will reduce the de-skilling of medics who have sought refuge in Scotland, and will allow NHS Scotland to utilise the experience of refugee doctors with valuable and highly specialised skills.
“We know access to training and employment is crucial to integration, and it can be devastating for those who had a skill in their home country to be unable to use that in their new country. By giving people a helping hand to utilise their skills we’re not only supporting them to make connections and friendships, and to build a better life, but we will all benefit from those skills too.
“Scotland has a long history of welcoming refugees, and working together to ensure they have the best possible opportunities to integrate and create a safe and stable home for themselves.”
It also gives doctors access to postgraduate study and dedicated support for learning English, meaning doctors are supported not just through the GMC registration, but on-going support through post-registration and job hunting.
It is also the first in the UK to involve a partnership between the third sector, further education and NHS.
Getting back into medicine is what I have been looking for since my first day in Scotland - Mohammad Helmi
Maggie Lennon, founder and director of the Bridges Programmes, said: “We are delighted the Scottish Government is willing to make this investment in these refugee doctors who are so eager to gain their GMC registration and start practicing again. This funding will help make that journey all the more quicker and smoother.
“It’s wonderful to note that at a time where refugees in some parts of the world are not always given such a warm welcome that once again Scotland is showing compassion and practical support. Getting back to medicine means the world to these outstanding men and women, and helping them achieve that will be a major focus for Bridges Programmes.”
Doctors are required to study and successfully pass strict English language, linguistic and clinical tests set by the General Medical Council (GMC) before being permitted to work in the NHS and must be registered with the GMC and hold a licence.
Mohammad Helmi, a Syrian doctor participant on the New Refugee Doctors' Project, said: “The project funding means it can be tailored to meet our needs in order to bridge the gap in our career path.
“Getting back into medicine is what I have been looking for since my first day in Scotland, and I cannot imagine myself being anywhere else. It is my passion where I will able to contribute the most to humanity.”