Hospital Dr News

Exploitation risk for overseas trainees

Employers are being warned not to exploit overseas junior doctors taking up new training placements in the NHS through the new Medical Training Initiative (MTI).

The MTI, which provided 250 two-year placements for doctors from developing countries last year, is now being expanded in stages to provide up to 750 opportunities.

Dr Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association for Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) fears the scheme could be used as a mechanism for filling posts left vacant following the April 2006 immigration ruling that led to the exodus of thousands of international graduates.

“The Department of Health should come clean on the service needs that have made such an initiative necessary. BAPIO’s policy has always been to press for proper workforce estimations and allowing the required number of overseas doctors to enter the UK and then giving them the opportunity to make progress by treating them on merit,” he said.

Dr Mehta said employers must ensure that MTI doctors are given proper induction, mentoring and training and the same pay as UK trainees to ensure they are treated fairly.

“Also it is important that it is made clear to these doctors at the outset the details about their prospective jobs and that this training will not lead to further career opportunities in the UK and that their training may be aborted if they do not demonstrate necessary competencies,” he says.

Juniors are voicing similar concerns. Delegates to the BMA’s recent Junior Doctors Conference, who noted that the scheme has striking similarities to the Permit-free Training Visa, passed a motion calling on the government to ensure that training places are genuine and of high quality.

Health minister Ann Keen said the MTI will enable international medical graduates from countries where medical training was not widely available to secure “vital” training and work experience in this country.

BAPIO’s view on the issue


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