The NHS has always attracted internationally qualified doctors because of historical links with commonwealth countries and its reputation for developing a high-quality medical workforce. International doctors form a significant part of the NHS medical workforce and constitute 35% (about 83,494) of the total doctors working in the UK. To cultivate further international health links for the UK, the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) Scheme was established by the Department of Health in 2009 to allow non-European trainee doctors to come to the UK and benefit from training and development in NHS services before returning to their home countries.
Currently about 5,000 to 6,000 new international doctors join UK clinical practice every year and annually they form about 40% of new doctors starting clinical practice in the UK. A report by the GMC, ‘The state of Medical Education and Practice in the UK’ reported that most non-UK qualified doctors were unfamiliar with the ethical and legal framework of the UK clinical practice when they started working in the UK. The GMC has suggested that NHS Trusts should strengthen induction and support systems for their new international doctors to enhance patient care.