Hilary Sharp, Senior Medical Workforce Manager at Cardiff and Vale UHB, was recently awarded for her all Wales work where she has been leading with the Indian organisation British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) on Medical Training Initiatives (MTI) since 2016.
BAPIO is a national voluntary organisation with a commitment to the principle of providing high-quality patient care through the National Health Service. BAPIO actively promotes the principles of diversity and equality with the aim of “Empowering doctors and dentists of Indian heritage to be beacons of leadership and professional excellence.” The Welsh division of BAPIO is the largest in the UK. The initiative represents over 500 Welsh-based doctors.
Hilary, who is chair of the all Wales group, first went to India in 2016, providing her extensive experience in the recruitment of doctors and dentists. The initiative has been designed to fill a large number of vacancies across NHS Wales as well as creating a network supporting doctors, staff, and the NHS as a whole to bring cost-effectiveness and savings into the health service where it’s most needed.
Not without its obstacles, Hilary and the collaborative have overcome challenges such as a last-minute currency change by the Indian Prime Minister making their money obsolete overnight, and last year a monsoon swept through the area they were travelling through.
Hilary said: “It’s been a fantastic experience, both professionally and culturally”.
The 2016 initiative took place in Delhi and Jaipur with 94 candidates deemed appointable. Of those, 40 doctors were allocated to health boards across Wales, and to date 24 have taken up their posts. This fills vacancies and provides NHS Wales with the opportunity to make considerable savings on its locum expenditure.
The 2017 initiative took place in Mumbai and Delhi, this time with 158 doctors deemed appointable, of which 139 were allocated to health boards across Wales, and 93 were then offered a post as a result.
Over the initial two-year period the initiative has saved NHS Wales £3.5m. Going forward this figure looks to be continually replicated, whereas the initiative only costs around £3,000 per participating health board.
Hilary stated: “I am proud of what has been achieved through the work of the BAPIO / Medical Training Initiatives. As well as the considerable savings achieved we have established valuable links and relationships between Wales and India with a view to bringing more emerging talent into the NHS.”
Plans for the 2018 initiative in India are already at an advanced stage.