College support for International Medical Graduates

Relocating to a new country feels like starting life from scratch!

As international medical graduates, we are very familiar with the challenges IMGs face, through our own personal experiences and from hearing numerous stories from IMG colleagues. With the IMG community making up more than 40% of the GP workforce, it is important for us to communicate with, and to be in the midst of peers and IMG communities.

It had been known that IMGs needed more support, information ranging from - housing, grocery shopping, childcare, PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board) exams, General Medical Council (GMC) registration, driving lessons, religious communities, NHS/work-related issues, appraisals, specialty training applications, credit score, mortgage, to name a few. “Information is Everything” is a very significant statement!

In the past 18 months, we have been sharing our thoughts with the College teams and got approval to set up the IMG group on the RCGP members' forum

The forum support includes:

  • Any specific queries, questions and concerns
  • Learning points and experiences as an IMG
  • Top tips on supporting IMG colleagues
  • Sharing events that are happening across the UK
  • Private messages, and more.

We have both been engaged in supporting our First5 and IMG communities and in June 2022, the proactive Northern Faculties’ IMG steering group was set up. It had two successful events last year, with a third event at the end of February 2023. It organises virtual and face-to-face events in order to enhance IMG networking. We have also been attending the RCGP mentoring review.

Moving towards our future plans (with support from the College), we aim to further collaborations with organisations such as Health Education England (HEE), GMC, the British Medical Association (BMA) and the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) for better unified support for IMGs.

About the writers

Dr Azza Elghonaimy

Azza relocated from Egypt, where she obtained her medical degree, in 1999. She did several clinical attachments in her local hospital and in 2006, began working in non-training and training posts within the NHS before starting her GP training in 2011, as a less than full time trainee at the Pennine GPVTS in Yorkshire Deanery. She obtained her CCT in 2017.

She was the Yorkshire Faculty First5 lead and RCGP First5 Co-lead for Community and Conference. She chairs the Northern Faculties IMG steering group and was one of the Faculty Champion Finalists in the College Inspire Awards in November 2022. Azza attends the RCGP Conference Management Group meetings, to represent IMGs.

Dr Uwadiae Ima-Edomwonyi

Uwa did his medical degree in Nigeria and relocated in 2008. He started working in the NHS in 2009. After several non-training NHS jobs, he started his GP training in 2014 at Macclesfield GPVTS in Northwest Deanery and obtained his CCT in 2017.

He was the Northwest Faculty First5 Co-lead and is currently a Nationally elected Council member and Vice Chair of the Northwest England Faculty.