IMG support vision for paediatrics in the Southwest

I started working in the Southwest in December 2019; before that, I worked in Ireland. I quickly realised after starting that although the NHS leans heavily on IMGs, it hasn’t quite grasped how to support them. The Southwest is not a multicultural hub and has only started attracting more IMGs to work here in recent years, and therefore IMG support is still in its early phases.
The need for supporting IMGs is evident when you realise that the NHS needs them more than they need the NHS. Overseas doctors prop up this system, but this system seems to fail them consistently. The evidence around differential attainment for this group of individuals in comparison to British graduates is in multitude. How to bridge the gap is less evident, but I believe raising awareness is the first step. (please see the post titled differential attainment)
So, raising awareness is what I started with, conversations about why and how the NHS is different for IMGs locally within the department and the school board.
There is an emphasis on the importance of specific IMG tailored inductions, which should look at the information that would overwhelm IMGs, specifically those new to the NHS. I believe investment in a good induction and shadowing period is key to the success of a first NHS job and progressing to out of hours shifts successfully. (Contact me if you would like to help set up a tailored induction in your department)
I designed and executed our first regional IMG induction for the Southwest, which we had excellent feedback on and will hopefully be a recurring day yearly.
We are looking at setting up regional IMG sim days where IMGs can learn together, and simulations can be targeted to topics IMGs feel they need more support with, such as communication and safeguarding cases. ( Funding pending, any ideas are welcome! )
Another key to successful support is understanding the experiences of IMGs themselves in the Southwest and the experience of consultants in supervising IMGs, and surveys have been sent out to help us understand.
The school board has taken an essential step in having a specific IMG representative to advocate for IMG support and specific IMG problems. I am currently the IMG representative for the Peninsula school board, and I am trying to do the work across the Southwest, but a counterpart in Severn would be most welcome. ( Contact me if you’re interested)
We are linking with the regional HEE equality diversity and inclusion vision, of which IMG support is a significant component.
We are also linking with national efforts to support IMGs through the RCPCH endorsed team soft-landing initiative for which I am the regional representative. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel, and there are many different initiatives around the country that we can aim to replicate. However, I do believe our plans are more comprehensive than any other region to my knowledge, and we have total investment and support from the school board, which is not always the case elsewhere.
To summarise, there is a lot of work to do, and we are only just starting. Any enthusiastic individuals looking to make a difference in the world, please feel free to contact me.

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