How international medical graduates view their learning needs for UK GP training

Educ Prim Care. 2014 Mar;25(2):84-90. doi: 10.1080/14739879.2014.11494252.


International medical graduates (IMGs) form a vital group of general practitioners (GPs) in the NHS. They are known to face additional challenges above and beyond those faced by UK medical graduates in the course of their GP training. Whilst they are a heterogeneous group of professionals, their views on what they need to learn, and how they are supported, are often distant from those of the educators responsible for planning their education. This study was undertaken, through narrative-based focus groups, to explore the issues which matter to the IMGs, in an attempt to empower their voices about their experiences in GP training, and to see what lessons could be drawn from these views. The findings confirmed the central importance, and considerable challenge involved, in making an effective transition into the culture of the NHS and UK general practice. The IMGs felt that induction needed to be an on-going, iterative process of learning which continued throughout training, with a more effective individualised learning needs analysis at the start of GP training. Lack of sophisticated language skills was highlighted as a real concern. Recognition that their lack of knowledge about the NHS at the start of training should not be seen as an indicator of deficiency, but a clue to what they needed to learn were also key messages. IMGs also felt the earlier in their training they undertook a GP placement, the quicker they would start to understand the culture of general practice in the UK. Further work following on from this research should include how to manage change in the educational network for these barriers to be overcome.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Focus Groups
  • Foreign Medical Graduates / psychology*
  • General Practice / education*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Organizational Culture
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration
  • Perception*
  • State Medicine / organization & administration
  • United Kingdom