Saad Maida, a  Syrian Christian obstetrician, has completed a long journey for professional recognition in the UK thanks to the Refugee Council’s Building Bridges programme, which supports refugee health workers to requalify to UK standards.

As a conscientious objector, Saad was granted asylum in 2014. His Syrian qualifications were approved, and he completed GMC exams assessing his English skills and competence to practice. But his lack of experience in the UK health system made it difficult for him to find work.

Building Bridges found him a place on the Clinical Apprenticeship Placement Scheme, which provides  clinical attachments for refugee medics with no previous UK experience.After jobs in general surgery, and further obstetrics and gynaecology training, Saad is now a senior registrar and clinical teacher at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

Shiquipe Maloku, a trainee GP from Kosovo, is another doctor who has been supported by Building `Bridges. She said:

“If it weren’t for Building Bridges, I would be working in a restaurant or something, because I’m not a good fighter. They opened the door to me when I felt lost. Sometimes you need a bit of a cushion.”

The project has now helped more than 180 refugee doctors to get their GMC licence to practice, and it has also found “transitional” jobs for nearly 400 other healthcare professionals.

A similar scheme in Scotland has helped more than 40 doctors for find jobs since 2017.