Helping refugee health professionals to join the NHS - Refugee Council

Helping refugee health professionals to join the NHS

Building Bridges is an NHS funded partnership that supports refugee health professionals living in London to restart their careers.

The UK urgently needs more health professionals to meet growing demand for healthcare. Refugee health professionals have a lot to offer – but the return to practicing can be a long and complicated process.


The total cost of a training a refugee doctor to work in the NHS is just 12% that of training a new doctor for one year


the cost to train one foundation year 2 doctor in the UK


the total cost of retraining a refugee doctor into work

Building Bridges helps people who were health professionals in their home countries to reconnect with their professional careers and work within the NHS. We provide specialist advice, language training, work placements, employability workshops, clinical exam preparation, and clinical attachments.


refugee doctors were supported by Building Bridges from 2009-2021


got a job in the NHS


were employed in other health care roles

Between March 2020 and April 2021, 23 refugee doctors supported by the programme joined the NHS workforce. It was just in time to help with the unprecedented demand for healthcare caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. They worked alongside their colleagues, bringing in the wealth of experience and skills, eager to give back to the society that provided them with sanctuary when they needed it.

"I do feel proud to be part of the NHS to be able to serve the public... These people share your dreams with you - they want you to get where you want to get." Dr Saad Maida
“When I took over as Return to Practice Training Programme Director, I never expected that supporting refugee healthcare professionals would be such a rewarding job. When you help a newly registered refugee doctor, who is new to the NHS, and ensure they have the right training to perform efficiently and effectively, there is no bigger reward than seeing them thrive. They already have wide ranging medical experience but just need that initial support to re-start their career in this country. It is a win-win situation for the individuals and the NHS.” Dr Mohammad Alam Training Programme Director, “Return to Practice”, Newham Hospital (Barts & The London NHS Trust)

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You can help refugees to rebuild their lives in the UK by making a donation or volunteering on one of our projects.

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If you are a refugee health professional, find out more about Building Bridges below.