Migrating medical professional knowledge: Learning to regulate the profession

In 2011 37% of doctors in UK completed their qualifying medical education outside of the UK. This study explores two issues: (1) how employers of doctors assess a doctor’s professional knowledge; and (2) how medical professional knowledge is impacted by incorporating the practices of non-UK doctors.  Employers play a critical role in the regulation of medical services, having responsibility for assessing medical and linguistic competency of doctors (GMC, 2012, p. 26). In hiring non-UK doctors, employers engage in a range of practices, from verifying credentials through to ensuring practical competence.  While these important tasks are supported by the General Medical Council, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure standards.

This qualitative study funded by the British Academy with Bonnie Slade as PI will involve interviews with employers of doctors in Edinburgh and Leeds. This project involves a literature review, and new empirical research.  This project will have impact in two areas: in understanding circulation of professional knowledge in general, and in medical practice in particular. This research will have policy relevance for the UK and other immigrant receiving countries where the integration of foreign professionals is a critical issue, but one that is often poorly handled.  The experience of the UK medical system in integrating knowledge and medical practice from linguistically and culturally diverse countries of the EU will be instructive to these contexts.

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