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Scotland Deanery

Home of medical and dental excellence

International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

Information for buddies

The Scotland Deanery is grateful to all doctors considering being a buddy for an IMG who is new to working in Scotland. This page provides some information for new and prospective buddies.

Who can be a buddy?

A buddy can be any doctor with experience of working in NHS Scotland. Our buddy scheme includes consultants, GPs, trainees and specialty doctors. Many of our volunteers are IMGs, however some are also UK graduates.

How many people will I be asked to support?

The buddy system has 2 main cohorts each year in February and August (when the training years start), however individuals can request a buddy outside these times and will be matched with an available buddy in the closest cohort. You would therefore usually be matched with 1 participant at a time, up to twice per year. If you are busy and wish to skip a cohort, simply contact sfas@nes.scot.nhs.uk at any time. If there is a high demand for buddies in your local area you may be asked to support a second participant, however this is not required if you do not feel able to do so. You are more likely to be asked to do this if you work in a rural area where volunteer buddies may be more limited.

What will I need to do as a buddy?

The role of each buddy varies depending upon the needs of the IMG they are supporting. Once you have been matched with an IMG, please make the first contact with them. It is then up to each pairing how often and where they meet. Most participants in the buddy scheme contact their buddy 1-6 times during their first 3 months of work and this is usually via e-mail or messaging. Some choose to stay in touch longer than 3 months. If you are close enough geographically to meet the person you are supporting face-to-face they may wish to meet you in person and we would encourage you to meet this request if possible. Some people also contact their buddy by telephone call or video call/Teams, if both participants are willing to share their telephone number. The main areas of support requested from buddies are help in understanding the working culture and systems, help in navigating medical training programmes, and help with personal issues such as finding accommodation or setting up a bank account.

What should I do if the person for whom I am a buddy has a query I can't answer?

You might find that the person you are supporting is looking for help with an issue in which you do not have expertise, for example finding a school for their children. Please feel free to ask them to contact sfas@nes.scot.nhs.uk and we will try to direct them to an appropriate person or resource. They may also find help through the resources below:

Scotland Deanery IMG webpages

OASIS programme

NHS Scotland International Recruitment Service

GMC Welcome to UK Practice events

Is the buddy system useful to participants?

Research conducted in November 2021 revealed that 58.3% of past participants in the buddy system strongly agreed that they would recommend the buddy system to another IMG who was new to working in Scotland. With a greater number of volunteers in the programme, the Deanery would be able to make the programme available to more participants and hopefully increase satisfaction by making more suitable matches in terms of geography, specialty etc. Many positive comments have also been received from IMGs regarding particular buddies who have provided them with valuable support and advice during the process of moving to a new country and commencing work in the NHS.

This page was last updated on: 11.04.2024 at 13.40