Refugee doctors differ from other international health professionals in that most left their country of origin under duress, rather than being part of the induced migration of many healthcare workers from low- to highincome countries. There are now over 1000 such doctors registered with the British Medical Association Refugee Council voluntary database of refugee and asylumseeking doctors (British Medical Association, 2006). Having obtained refugee status (or indefinite leave to remain), many wish to use their skills within the National Health Service (NHS) and contribute to their host country. However, they need to obtain the requisite qualifications (i.e. 70% in the International English Language Test and passes in both the written and clinical parts of the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board) before being registered with the General Medical Council. They also need to gain an understanding of the culture and context of medical practice within the UK, as well as good references, if they are to compete successfully for training posts with UK graduates and other international medical graduates. The most recent figures available (September 2005) show that only 77 of those registered with the database are currently working in the NHS and 207 doctors have the required accreditation but are not yet employed (British Medical Association, 2006).
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