Medical students and doctors should be prepared for a range of scenarios in the coming months.
In recent years, visa restrictions have led to a rise in the number of foreign medical students and international students applying to the UK.
As of the end of April, more than 16,000 international students applied for medical residencies abroad, while there were more than 18,000 UK-based medical students applying for medical positions overseas, according to the Medical Students’ Federation.
These changes are being felt most keenly in Scotland, which is currently experiencing a sharp surge in applications from overseas.
In June this year, the Royal College of GPs Scotland issued guidelines on the best and safest way to apply for medical residency in the UK, recommending that foreign students and residents should not apply with the same qualifications as their UK counterparts.
These include the ability to practice medicine, the ability and the desire to work as a physician in the first country of entry, and a strong understanding of the local medical system.
The Scottish Medical Association, the governing body for medical students in Scotland and other areas, has also published guidelines on how to apply to be a medical resident in the country.
Dr Mary MacLeod, medical officer of the Royal Scottish College of Physicians, said the medical officers of the UK and EU have agreed that the situation in the medical professions in Scotland is complex and that the skills and abilities of the students are of paramount importance.
“The skills of the medical students coming to the country, particularly from overseas, is not recognised in Scotland.
So it is important that we all look at this together and get together as a country,” Dr MacLeod said.”
We all need to understand that we are all on the same page, and the skills that we bring to the profession are also needed here.”
Dr MacLeod added that while the number and type of applications for medical student residency has increased in recent years in the EU, this trend will not change in Scotland unless the UK starts treating medical students differently.
“There are very few students from overseas coming to Scotland and the majority of the applications are from UK citizens who are interested in medical training.
We do need to see some sort of reform, and it needs to start in Scotland,” she said.
This article was originally published by Medical News UK and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons license.