Refugee doctors constitute a potentially valuable resource for reducing the recruitment crisis in psychiatry. However, various hurdles make their route into the National Health Service (NHS) difficult.
To explore the perceptions and experiences of refugee doctors trying to practise psychiatry in the UK.
Thirty-one refugee doctors participated in qualitative interviews designed to elicit their experiences in trying to practise as doctors in the UK. Twenty were re-interviewed about 6 months later.
Doctors identified a range of practical problems that made it difficult for them to take the required steps towards practising in the UK. These included lack of appropriate information, lack of a clear route through the system and feelings of isolation. The English language examination was seen as a particular bottleneck, as were finding clinical attachments. The psychological impact of the experience was profound.
These findings have important implications for how refugee doctors are introduced to the practice of psychiatry in the NHS.
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