The NHS International Fellowship Scheme for consultants offers overseas consultants, in specialties including psychiatry, an opportunity to work in the UK (Goldberg, 2003). This was launched by the Department of Health in 2002 and so far over 100 consultant psychiatrists have been recruited. However, there are several aspects of the project that are unclear. How long will this recruitment continue? Are there any arrangements in place to encourage overseas consultants to return to their home country at the end of their fellowship? Are they eligible to train senior house officers (SHOs) and specialist registrars (SpRs)? Will the recruitment under the scheme have an impact on job opportunities for SpRs currently training in the UK? Why is membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists being granted to the newly recruited consultants without an examination? These and many more concerns have arisen in the wake of this scheme. In this article, we evaluate the scheme, discuss its implications and suggest possible ways forward.
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