An interview with Dr Gareth Hampton, Divisional Medical Director at Southern Health and Social Care Trust

We sat down with Dr Gareth Hampton, Divisional Medical Director – Emergency Medicine & Unscheduled Care Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Southern Health and Social Care Trust, ahead of their recruitment drive in Mumbai, to discuss the Trust’s experience with international recruitment and life as an International Medical Graduate (IMG) in Northern Ireland.

What are you looking forward to on this trip? 

We have had some success with international recruitment in the past – but we have not done anything on this scale before. The chance to meet candidates face-to-face, to talk to them about their aspirations and to gain an understanding of some of their background will be invaluable in making their journey to Southern Health and Social Care Trust as smooth as possible and set them up for success from the get-go. I am excited to see how far this international project can take us.  

Why is Southern Trust looking at recruitment?  

Our previous experience with international recruitment has been overwhelmingly positive – both for our patients, colleagues, and new recruits. We have seen that patient care has improved, that colleagues are better able to manage their workloads in a bigger team, and we have seen our IMGs progress and develop into consultants and in subspecialties. It has been a win-win situation – our Trust benefits from the expertise of clinicians from other parts of the world, and our IMGs benefit from the experience and mentorship of our consultants.  We are particularly excited to be going out to recruit in person, on such a large scale, as we know we can hone our recruitment processes, especially as they relate to helping our clinicians relocate and settle in. Our experiences of international recruitment have shown us how well it can work – and we are looking forward to formalizing our recruitment processes.  

If you were an IMG, what would persuade you to join Southern Trust?  

Southern Trust is a great place for progression and specialisation. We have consultants here that are Royal College examiners – so we are well placed to advise and coach our colleagues through exams. We have trainers across several specialties, so if a clinician joins in Emergency Medicine, there are training opportunities that will allow them to sub-specialise or even move departments. We are open to developing our clinicians in Emergency Medicine or allowing them to move into other specialties – as Emergency Medicine is so varied, and requires a wide breadth of skills, it lends itself to moving around. We are fully committed to the training and development of our colleagues, in whichever area they are most interested in.  

What support does the Trust offer with the CESR route? 

CESR is a new route that more doctors are pursuing. We have a CESR group in the Trust to support people through the process, and our doctors that are currently on the CESR route have formed a study group to help each other with exams. We have people on our consultant team that help organise CESR exams – so we know how to study, and what topics come up. CESR does require a lot of work, but we will be here to help you, every step of the way.  

What are you looking for in new recruits? 

We want people who want to learn, who want to progress. Any person that joins this Trust that wants to develop can – we have the patients and experience to support people with their learning and development. Every patient is a learning opportunity. If someone wants to join Emergency Medicine and eventually move into another specialty, the EM department is a great option. We are fully supportive of our doctors changing specialties, and we can help our doctors gain the qualifications and experience necessary.  

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