GMC workshops could reduce FTP referrals for BAME doctors

Free training workshops set up by the GMC could help bring down high rates of fitness to practise referrals among BAME and overseas-trained doctors, the watchdog believes.

BAME doctors are more than twice as likely to be referred by an employer to fitness to practise procedures as white colleagues, and more likely to be investigated and then warned or sanctioned.

GMC research has suggested that a lack of support for BAME doctors is often a key factor behind disproportionately high rates of fitness to practise referral - and a report last month called for better support for doctors new to the UK or to the NHS.

Research commissioned by the GMC shows that two thirds of doctors who attended its half-day 'Welcome to UK practice' workshops made changes to the way they work as a result - and the watchdog is now expanding access to the scheme.

Overseas doctors

Overseas doctors who attended a workshop reported 'significantly improved awareness and understanding' of ethical issues, and of 'GMC guidance and UK practice in general'.

The sessions improved doctors' 'patient centeredness and communication self-efficacy' and benefited from meeting, sharing learning and support with others in the same position as them, University of Newcastle researchers who evaluated the workshops found.

More than 8,000 doctors have attended Welcome to UK practice workshops since 2013, and the GMC hopes to drive up access by making sessions available at evenings and weekends.

Responding to findings in the research that overseas doctors working in the NHS found it diffficult to make time for attending workshops or training, the GMC has made sessions available in the evenings and on Saturdays, with Sunday sessions also being piloted.

GMC workshops

The workshops are also being built around compulsory registration and ID checks for overseas doctors starting work in the UK, and are being offered at a growing number of locations.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: ‘Doctors who qualified overseas make a hugely valuable contribution to UK healthcare but, no matter how experienced a doctor is, the transition to working in a new country can be challenging.

‘Welcome to UK practice makes that transition easier, and the research we commissioned makes those benefits clear and backs up what doctors have been telling us anecdotally.

‘We know it can be challenging for doctors to find time to attend a workshop, especially once they are working. However, more evening and weekend events, more locations, and linking sessions directly to when doctors are visiting the GMC, will make it easier.'

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