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Medical Training Initiative - Unlocking Opportunities - A UK Employer Perspective

The Medical Training Initiative (MTI) scheme allows international doctors to come to the UK for up to two years to train within the NHS. Dr Subhachandra Navaratne, Consultant Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist at King's College Hospital discusses his experience facilitating the scheme.

"Since 2018, I have welcomed 12 MTI trainees into the hospital from several countries globally including Malaysia, Jordan, Egypt, and Sri Lanka. The main motivation for Kings College's involvement in the MTI programme was to raise the profile of the radiology department and promote the specialty of radiology worldwide. The primary purpose of the scheme is to improve the quality of healthcare in lower-income countries by sharing knowledge, experience and best practise that benefits the doctor who is getting trained and developed in the NHS.


"It should be emphasised that our department also benefits from the scheme, as it makes use of spare training capacity, which can help to enhance patient care. MTI trainees bring diverse perspectives and can help promote cross-cultural understanding within departments. Their varied experiences can contribute to innovative approaches to healthcare and ultimately improve the quality of care.


Recruitment stages 


"The recruitment process for MTI involves several key steps to ensure that qualified medical professionals are selected for training placements.  First, I check with my Training Programme Director that there is existing capacity to take on an MTI trainee, then I formally arrange an interview with the candidate.  


"This usually involves two consultants from the department who look to check knowledge and capability through a structured interview process. During the interview they aim to get a reasonable understanding of where the Trainee is in terms of their training and gain a better understanding of what the trainee wishes to achieve during their placement. It is crucial that we provide a clear description of what the position will entail, as well as a transparent timetable for recruitment.  


 "One of the things we clarify is that whilst there is no requirement for the MTI trainees to be part of the on-call rota at King's, if they decide they do wish to gain this experience they are renumerated for this work by the hospital.




"At the start of their post the MTI trainee will experience a period of onboarding and induction to help them become familiar with the hospital policies and procedures. I find this stage of the induction to be particularly essential to the success of the placement, and it is important that the trainees receive support while they navigate new environments.


"Additionally, the trainees will be given training sessions that are tailored to their specific role and clinical responsibilities. We allocate clinical and educational support from the very start of their placement to ensure that they can focus on their training with confidence. Every three months the trainee meets with their educational supervisor to discuss their progress, which is recorded on the e-portfolio.


Challenges and successes 


"I am yet to face any specific challenges implementing the MTI programme at Kings, however, I recognise that the application process is comprehensive and requires diligent oversight to ensure a successful outcome. To ensure that we have the capacity within the department to offer a high-quality training experience for trainees, we will limit the number of trainees we have in-post."


The hugely positive impact the MTI scheme is having is illustrated by the success of a Sri Lankan trainee who came over to train at Kings interventional radiology. After their post, they returned to set up new services and develop these in an area with limited access to this type of medicine. 


"My colleagues are still in touch with the doctor and continue to offer peer support and guidance where needed. Similarly, our own departments benefit from the experience these trainees bring, often helping provide support to less senior members of the department."


The MTI scheme facilitates access to world-class facilities, allowing trainees to gain the knowledge, skills, and experience to thrive in a globalised healthcare landscape. It stands as a beacon of opportunity, bridging borders and fostering excellence in medical training. Being part of the MTI programme is a commitment to building stronger and more resilient healthcare systems around the world for future generations.