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Refugee and Asylum Seeking health professionals face significant barriers when attempting to revalidate their medical qualifications to practice in the UK. The WARD group supports doctors and dentists to restart their medical career and helps maintain future doctors’ numbers within the NHS in Wales.

What is the project?

The goal of WARD is to help doctors and dentists across Wales to re-validate their medical qualifications and achieve a career within the NHS. Without this kind of support, it is hard for a refugee or asylum seeker to independently overcome the financial, logistical and mental barriers and restart their career within the NHS.

Among other things, the support that we offer includes:

  • Weekly IELTS/OET language classes from our dedicated WARD group classroom in Cardiff
  • Covering the costs of PLAB1, PLAB2 and IELTS/OET examinations
  • Providing courses, materials and support for PLAB1 and PLAB2 medical examinations
  • Providing access to study materials, textbooks, medical mannequins and instruments for training.
  • Facilitate entry to the BMA Refugee Doctor Initiative
  • Assistance with GMC registration

When was it set up and who pays for it?

 WARD group was created in 2002, after we recognised the unused potential of refugee and asylum seeking doctors. WARD was the first scheme of its kind in the UK, and remains the only one that provides paid supernumerary posts to help introduce doctors into the NHS.

WARD is currently funded by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and BMA Giving. In addition to this funding, HEIW also provides WARD with professional support.

What has WARD achieved?

Since 2002, WARD has helped over 216 doctors and dentists. On average 6 WARD doctors a year achieve GMC registration and begin work in the NHS.

132 healthcare professionals have passed their language exam with WARD’s tuition and funding. Over 100 doctors have passed both their PLAB1 and PLAB2 exams with the help of WARD.

So far over 110 WARD doctors have completed the program and are now employed in the NHS. 18 of our members are now GPs and 14 are consultants on the specialist register. These individuals are each fulfilling essential roles which take years of experience and training to reach.

Training new doctors is expensive, it costs around £225,000 to train a medical student. The WARD process costs around £30,000 for each doctor completing the scheme. This significantly reduces costs (by £200,000!) by introducing previously trained doctors into our healthcare system whose talents would otherwise be wasted.

Due to its excellent work, the WARD group is often celebrated in the media. To see some of these article take a look at our Media Links page.

How can I join WARD? 

Language lessons are ran from our Cardiff office from 9:30am-1:30pm (Monday & Tuesday is OET, Wednesday & Thursday is IELTS). These are currently being held online due to coronavirus.

Although WARD is primarily for refugee and asylum seeking doctors and dentists, if there is space in classses, we sometimes provide other health professionals with IELTS/OET tuition.

Transport costs are provided. If you will need level access, large print, or have any other accessibility needs, please do not hesitate to get in touch

To join or find out more please contact:

Sarah Allen | WARD group manager | | 02920 789 733 | 07496 840 479