International Medical Graduates (IMGs)
IMGs have additional needs in comparison with other doctors presenting to the service. Doctors who have undertaken medical training overseas are faced by multiple difficulties – they are often more isolated and less integrated with their peers, on both a personal and professional level. Working as locums or in multiple specialty areas without a support structure creates additional problems. Doctors coming to the UK to work may be coming from other cultures where mental health is perhaps more stigmatised. This might mean there are cultural barriers to them feeling able to ask for help and then to accepting treatment – whether that be antidepressants or other treatment for psychological disorders. Some may fear that admitting a mental illness might put them at risk of losing their license to practice. They also might fear deportation.
IMGs now make up approximately 10% of patients at Practitioner Health. Doctors who have graduated abroad are more likely to be involved in regulatory or disciplinary processes than other UK graduates – this is usually following a performance issue at work. In such cases, there is often a clear history of an undiagnosed mental health problem that the practitioner patient has been experiencing which has then affected them at work and often contributed to the cause of the workplace concern. IMGs are more likely to present with mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety than addiction problems.