College support for International Medical Graduates

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

As international medical graduates (IMGs), we understand firsthand the challenges faced by IMGs, through our own experiences and the stories shared by our colleagues. With the IMGs comprising over 40% of the GP workforce, providing adequate support is crucial. Connecting with peers and IMG communities is also essential.

IMGs require extensive support and information on various aspects, including; housing, grocery shopping, childcare, PLAB exams, GMC registration, driving lessons, religious communities, NHS/work-related issues, neurodiverse assessments, appraisals, specialty training applications, credit scores and mortgages. (to name a few) 

The saying “Information is Everything” is particularly relevant here.

Over the past two years, we have collaborated with college teams to share our insights and expert advice. Currently, we lead the IMG group on the RCGP members' forum, which serves as a platform to discuss relevant issues:

  • Address specific queries
  • Share learning points and experiences 
  • Offer tips on supporting IMG colleagues
  • Announce events across the UK and
  • Facilitate private messages/discussions.

In June 2022, the proactive Northern Faculties’ IMG steering group, was established by members of the Yorkshire, SYNT, Northwest England and Humber & Ridings faculties. This group has organised various successful events, both virtual and in-person, to enhance IMG networking. 

Azza chaired the Northern Faculty IMG steering group from November 2022 to October 2023, during which they hosted informative webinars involving other stakeholders like HEE/NHSE WTE, GMC, MDU, Wesleyan, as well as social events.

In collaboration with the college, we have successfully organised two RCGP IMG GP Trainees/AiT Induction events - in July 2023 (for Aug 2023 starters) and January 2024 (for Feb 2024 starters). These successful events which we co-chaired, received excellent feedback from the participants. We aim to continue these efforts.

Looking ahead, we plan to collaborate further with organisations such as HEE/ NHSE WTE, GMC, the British Medical Association (BMA), the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA), and more, to provide unified support for IMGs.

About the writers

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 is a GP in Manchester and a clinical supervisor for urgent & unscheduled care.

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

Azza obtained her medical degree in Egypt and relocated in 1999. After clinical work in her local hospital, she worked in non-training and training NHS posts before starting her GP training in 2011 and obtaining her CCT in 2017.
She was the Yorkshire Faculty First5 lead, RCGP First5 Co-lead for Community and Conference, and chaired the Northern Faculty IMG steering group. She was a Faculty Champion Finalist in the College Inspire Awards in 2022 and attends RCGP Conference Management Group meetings to represent IMGs. She is now a Council member and the Yorkshire Faculty IMG rep.