Hospital Dr News

Overseas doctors more likely to be suspended

Doctors qualifying outside the UK are more likely to be referred to be excluded or suspended from work than UK medical graduates.

Statistics from the National Clinical Assessment Service reveal higher rates of concern among doctors who qualified elsewhere in the European Economic Area as well as outside Europe, with the highest rates seen amongst non-white doctors.

However, NCAS attributes these differences to place of qualification and training factors at undergraduate level rather than to ethnicity. Levels of concern amongst doctors qualifying in the UK do not differ between white and non-white groups.

Approximately 5,600 NCAS referrals were examined altogether, including 900 in the most recent year, 2009/10. The latest year’s figures show patterns very close to those reported in earlier years.

NCAS, which provides advice to trusts on improving the performance of individual doctors, is calling on the NHS to strengthen induction and support systems for international medical graduates so that levels of concern about professional practice can be reduced.

Professor Alastair Scotland, Director of NCAS, said: “We are not generalising. Most doctors from outside the UK do excellent work for the NHS and the service depends a great deal on them and the skills they bring. But these statistics show clearly that there is a greater likelihood of concerns being raised in some groups than others”.

The analyses also show a strong association between concerns about professional practice and the gender and age of doctors being referred.

Scotland added: “We consistently find higher levels of concern in older age groups, which might be telling us something about the educational needs of doctors at the later stages of their careers. We also find fewer concerns amongst women at all ages. The reasons for that are less clear and it is therefore important we see more research in that area.

“There has been a great deal of discussion in recent years about the influence of ethnicity and place of qualification on concerns about professional practice. NCAS’ statistics have shown consistently that place of primary qualification has a more powerful influence on referral to our services.”

Read the full reportConcerns about professional practice and associations with age, gender, place of qualification and ethnicity – 2009/10.

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3 Responses to “Overseas doctors more likely to be suspended”

  1. chrissa says:

    there is a big cultural factor: in many countries, especially some 20 to 30 years ago the notion of nurses, physios and many more being professional colleagues of equal status was unthinkable. therefore, doctors behaving towards other staff like it was normal to behave there and then, will be perceived as rude and arrogant in the here and now – and these are the most likely to get a “referral”.
    an american friend of mine has summed it up: “good doctors get sued and bad doctors get sued- but nice doctors get sued a lot less”. life is actually awfully simple – only statisticians make it simply awfully complicated … :-)) …

  2. James says:

    Great spin by NCAS.The obvious is remotely possible & the remotely possible is the best explanation.

  3. Dr Umesh Prabhu says:

    Whatever is the reason the most important thing is to protect patients and help, support and guide doctors, be it an overseas trained doctor or a local doctor.

    As doctors, we all know that prevention is better than cure. NHS has to understand the reason as to why doctors get referred to the bodies like NCAS and GMC and try to find reasons to prevent these tragedies both for patients and their families and doctors and their families.

    Doctors should have proper induction, help, support, guidance and mentoring to prevent problems. NHS must also have a proper system to identify failing doctors early so that they can be helped, supported and guided.

    NHS should also provide training in softer skills of being a good doctor like communication skills, team working, leadership skills, organisational skills, dealing with complaints, litigation and so on. NHS should have ‘fair and open’ culture and supportive and learning culture and not a blame culture. Then only doctors will be able to provide good quality care which our patients deserve.

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