“I was gradually introduced to the UK medical system; I have received a lot of guidance and support which I might not have if enrolled directly into a CT job. It helped me find out what is expected of me as a junior doctor and also ways in which I can grow and improve my knowledge.” – Anonymous WAST Overseas Doctor
The Widening Access to Specialty Training (WAST) International Recruitment Scheme was put in place to attract a sustainable supply of quality doctors into areas of the UK where there is a shortage and to prepare them for entry to GP and Psychiatry specialty training.
The WAST scheme had previously enabled a small number of overseas doctors to gain NHS experience at FY2 level ahead of taking up GPs and in Psychiatry training. The expansion pilot includes a funded educational and pastoral offer, leading to the Certificate of Readiness to Enter Specialty Training (CREST). Data from doctors who joined WAST ahead of the pilot show that they reliably enter the shortage specialties as intended.
The WAST Expansion Pilot has also proved popular, to date there has been 1,200 applications for August 2020. Between February 2019 and February 2020 training destinations were as follows: GP – 47%, Core Psychiatry – 44%, other specialty – 9%.
The enhanced WAST scheme has, so far, shown good potential for both a sustainable supply of doctors wishing to enter English specialty training and good conversion of WAST doctors into GP and Psychiatry training posts. The intention is now to run the programme at scale, placing 500 doctors per year from 2020-21, making a substantial contribution to the future medical workforce.