UK doctors encouraged to gain overseas experience

UK doctors encouraged to gain overseas experience

The BMA has published updated guidance called Broadening your Horizons which says that it is more important than ever before for doctors and trainees to gain international experience.

UK doctors who work within overseas health systems for a time can gain highly useful experience that will benefit the NHS, other clinicians and developing countries, argues the BMA.

The guidance is designed to support UK doctors at all stages of their careers who are considering working or training in developing countries and rejects concerns that time working abroad can damage a doctor’s career prospects.

It also helps employers and medical educators in the NHS to assist those who choose to undertake work abroad.

The guidance says gaining experience overseas can be mutually beneficial by:

-supporting health improvements in developing countries
-providing opportunities to share skills, knowledge and experience
-equipping doctors to adapt to a changing NHS and deal with a diverse range of diseases in the UK
-helping trainees to identify career paths for the rest of their professional lives.

As well as giving a detailed account of the application process, the guidance also includes personal accounts from doctors working internationally an advice on expenses and employment entitlements whilst on placement; how to find a placement; how to secure time out from training or employment; and revalidation requirements.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council, said: “The opportunity to work in developing countries has long been valued by doctors at all stages of their careers, and with an increasingly diverse patient population in the UK those experiences are more important than ever.

“We know that working in developing countries can benefit a doctor’s career as well as the NHS, but many doctors believe time out will have a negative impact on their professional development, and often trainees think overseas working isn’t an option for them.

“This guidance has been produced to show that opportunities to work internationally exist, support those wanting to work overseas, and to address concerns raised by our members.

“Working in a developing country should be seen as positive career move, not a negative one and we hope that our guidance will help doctors, trainers and employers to facilitate opportunities for UK doctors to work or volunteer in developing countries.”

By Adrian O'Dowd

OnMedica, 16th September 2013

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