NHS needs international medical graduates as they demand better wages and conditions

  • International medical graduates make up a fifth of doctors in the UK
  • Seasonal illness rises over five time the number of patients in hospitals compared to the week before to an average 942 patients
  • Additional reporting by PA Media

Junior doctors are demanding higher wages as they take to the streets for the longest industrial action in NHS history and among the junior doctors striking are international medical graduates (IMG).

According to the British Medical Association (BMA), IMGs create a fifth of all licensed doctors in the UK. A spokesperson said: “Given shortages in the UK medical workforce, international doctors are essential.”

Junior Doctors demand restoration as their pay has been cut by more than 26% since 2008. Credit- PA Media


IMGs striking in the middle of the winter period and after Christmas break is a critical issue. The NHS is under pressure from various factors such as seasonal illnesses, flu, Covid-19, and the absence of staff due to sickness. Additionally, many people are also at risk because of social mixing over the festive period.

According to the NHS, people in hospitals with seasonal illnesses have increased to an average of 942 patients daily. The NHS National Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “This January could be one of the most difficult starts to the year the NHS has ever faced.”

NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership has warned that local A&E departments are ‘extremely busy’, and warned anyone with emergencies that are not life-threatening to ‘expect a significant wait’.

Credit – NHS Greater Manchester X: @NHS_GM

Significance of IMGs

An IMG from James Cook University hospital obstetrics and gynaecology ward, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I would like to see the junior doctors get the pay increase they are striking for. Due to inflation, I do not believe junior doctors currently earn a fair wage. These ongoing strikes are a burden for the IMGs.”

“I do hope the NHS recognizes the value of the IMG’s as they would not be able to function without us.”

International Medical Graduate at James Cook University Hospital

According to the IMG, the NHS cannot continue to be as sustainable as it is.

They stated. “Due to an ageing and unwell population and limited financial resources, it cannot continue to be sustainable as is. The NHS must realise it cannot function without IMGs.

It is not nearly enough to have UK trainees and consultants work in the tertiary hospitals, so they have opened the pathway for IMGs to come into the UK to work, even having a special new visa. However, the IMGs face issues with career progression because of the NHS despite having experience and knowledge.”