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We direct collaborative programmes of medical research in low income or middle income countries, with support from UK and local institutions. Each site has a team of local and international doctors, scientists, and support staff. We use high quality research to help to understand local health problems and find ways to address these problems. We provide opportunities for local professionals to work with colleagues from the UK and elsewhere, thereby gaining experience to deal with their own problems in their own setting.
UK doctors play a crucial part in each of these programmes.1 They contribute to the work, gain a wider perspective on international health problems, see a large range of disease problems, learn how to be resourceful, and contribute to advances against some of the world's commonest health problems. Such experience is of great value not only in the host country but for individuals' development as future NHS professionals. It is also crucial to the international perspective commended in the Crisp report.2
Most UK doctors spending time in one of our research programmes wish to return to a career in the United Kingdom. If this re-entry is made difficult or impossible they are unlikely to come abroad in the first place. The individual, the NHS, and the international community would all be impoverished as a result.
Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) as currently formulated is likely to make it difficult for a young doctor to spend time working in a developing country. A revised MMC should include mechanisms that not only permit but strongly encourage UK doctors to work in a developing country at some stage during clinical specialist training.
Competing interests: None declared.