Hospital trust celebrates groundbreaking programme attracting top international medical talent to Lancashire

Bosses at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals are celebrating the success of a new scheme aimed at attracting - and keeping - new doctors.

By Catherine Musgrove
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:45 pm

The Trust, which runs the Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, has teamed up with the University of Manchester, Health Education England and Mansoura University in North Africa, to address the problem of a chronic shortage of doctors in the North West.

While demands on staff have increased greatly, Britain’s medical schools haven’t been able to keep up with the demand, and it can be difficult to attract international doctors to work in the towns and cities of Lancashire, as the bright lights of bigger cities can seem more attractive.

Some doctors also find it hard to settle in to life in the UK.

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Some of the Egyptian doctors who are now working in Lancashire

But now, thanks to the new collaboration, tens of new doctors from Egypt are working - and staying in Lancashire.

How does the scheme work?

Mansoura University has, for several years, run a Medical undergraduate course in close partnership with the University of Manchester. Now a new Medical Intern Programme at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals gives these newly qualified doctors the opportunity to put their new skills to use in the North West.

Doctors from Egypt are given specialist support during their relocation and carefully supervised during their transitional period.

They participate in a carefully-designed two-year educational programme which covers both aspects of medical practice and an introduction to the history and traditions of the National Health Service.

For those who complete all parts of the programme, this leads to a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of Manchester.

A spokesman for the programme said: "The quality of candidates has been fantastic. The small numbers in the cohorts means they are receiving great pastoral care and are upskilling in a way they wouldn't in their own country."

They added: "One of the couples from the first cohort has got engaged, and another has had a baby. It's very true what one of them said: 'It's not just a programme, it's creating a community."

The first cohort of nine was recruited in 2020, with another nine last year. Sixteen more are expected to join them in August, with some going to take up roles at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital.