Evidence submitted by the Refugee Healthcare
Professional Project (WP 13)
1. The Migrant & Refugee Communities
Forum (MRCF) believes that to solve the demand for professionals
working in the NHS the UK Government should focus on supporting
and employing settled migrants and refugees who are overseas-qualified
healthcare professionals already living in the UK and not recruit
from overseas. MRCF welcomes the government initiative to consult
on this issue. All information submitted here is submitted on
behalf of MRCF.
2. The Migrant & Refugee Communities
Forum (MRCF) is a community development agency working with migrant
& refugee led community organisations. We were established
in 1993 to promote the interests and rights of migrants and refugees
and to strengthen their community organisations. MRCF has run
a support project for overseas-qualified dentists and doctors
since 2001 and has acquired experience and expertise in relation
to the issues and barriers facing overseas-qualified healthcare
professionals living in the UK. MRCF provides lectures, clinical
training, funding, advice and guidance, study clubs, library facilities
and job search support.
3. MRCF recognises the demand for qualified
dentists to work in the NHS and the drive by the Department of
Health to recruit overseas-qualified dentists. 
4. MRCF believes that the demand for dentists
in the NHS can be met by settled migrants and refugees already
resident in the UK and should not be met by international recruitment.
Resources should be given to assisting overseas-qualified dentists
already settled in the UK. The costs of the IQE
exams facing dentists are very high (IQE A£600; IQE
B£650; IQE C£1,550). There are no concessions
for refugee dentists. The Department of Health subsided the IQE
for all candidates in 2005 but this subsidy no longer exists and
candidates have to bear the entire cost. MRCF has a database of
1,220 overseas-qualified dentists already living in the UK. Of
these 136 have already passed all stages of the IQE and 29 of
these are working. We therefore have 107 job-ready dentists looking
for employment and 1,084 dentists working towards their IQE exams.
5. There are many experienced overseas-qualified
doctors settled in the UK and recruiting from overseas would lead
to wasting the skills of these doctors. The British Medical Association/Refugee
Council Refugee Doctor Database currently have 1,073 asylum seekers/refugee
doctors registered with them. Of those 77 doctors are currently
working in the NHS and a further 219 doctors are job-ready.
6. The majority of overseas-qualified healthcare
professionals we see are keen to work in their profession and
want to work in the NHS. Many have years of experience and would
be a huge asset to the UK. Refugee and overseas-qualified healthcare
professionals who have settled in the UK are more likely to remain
in the UK than those who are brought from abroad as a temporary
measure. They are therefore a more suitable solution to the problem
7. Recruiting refugees and settled migrants
already living in the UK also supports the Department of Health
policy on ethical recruitment. Issues surrounding the "brain
drain" from developing countries and "poaching"
overseas-qualified healthcare professionals would be tackled.
Refugees did not have a choice to leave their country of origin
and settled migrants are often living in the UK through marriage
and other settled migration routes.
8. All these principals concerning recruiting
overseas-qualified healthcare professionals from refugees and
settled migrants already living in the UK are equally applicable
to all other healthcare professionalsnurses, allied health
professionals etc Supporting and recruiting from this pool of
labour brings diversity into the NHS and ensures BME communities
are represented in the health sector.
Refugee Healthcare Professional Project, The Migrant
and Refugee Communities Forum
14 March 2006
86 More Dentists Now, More Dentists Later (09
November 2005) Department of Health press release. Back
IQE: International Qualifying Exam. Dentists have to pass three
International Qualifying Exams. The first is theoretical, the
second practical on manikins, and the third is clinical on patients.
Most dentists take an average of two years to pass these dental
exams, and require extensive support and training to be able to
achieve good results. Back
In order to work in the UK, all overseas healthcare professionals
have to pass an International English Language Testing System
(IELTS) exam. Following this, doctors have to pass 2 Professional
and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) exams, one theoretical
and one practical. A lack of opportunities for clinical training
hinders doctors' chances of passing the practical exam. Back