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Refugee doctor database could ease medical crisis

A database of refugee doctors could help save the Government millions of pounds, the British Medical Association (BMA) has claimed.

The Lotus Notes database has been implemented to help refugee doctors practise in the UK, and help ease the skills crisis in the medical profession.

Edwin Borman, chairman of the BMA's International Committee, said, "This database is very necessary. By setting it up we are meeting the needs of both the doctors and the UK.

"From the information that we have, retraining a refugee [doctor] would cost a small fraction of the £200,000 that it costs the UK taxpayer to train an undergraduate into a doctor."

The scheme is a joint initiative between the Refugee Council and the BMA, which already holds secure data on the UK medical profession.

There will eventually be up to 1,200 refugee doctors on the database. It will take up to two years to retrain them before they can practise.

The project's £10,000 start-up costs were funded by the Department of Health, which is attempting to solve medical recruitment problems.

"The BMA already has a separate database of our 110,000 UK members so we are familiar with the necessary procedures for handling confidential information," Borman added.

James Rogers
james.rogers@rbi.co.uk

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