Virtual reality man

A virtual reality app will give international doctors a taste of what it’s like to work as a GP in the UK as part of a drive to increase overseas recruits.

The app, developed by the General Medical Council (GMC) and NHS England, is targeted at international doctors joining or considering joining the UK register.

Called Patient journey to GP practice, it encourages doctors to apply GMC guidance to a range of everyday ethical scenarios.

The 360-degree interactive video follows a patient through their interactions with the multidisciplinary team; from the moment they first make a GP appointment, through to end of life care.

Emphasis is placed on patient-centred care, with doctors asked to listen to the patient and respond to questions.

It’s the first time the GMC has used virtual reality as an educational tool.

App developer Nick Moseley, GMC E-learning consultant, said: “It’s been exciting to see doctors engage with this technology and get immersed in this new type of learning experience.

“You can tell a doctor about good practice, but it’s far more beneficial if we can show them. By using this app, doctors not only hear the theory, they see it modelled.”

The GMC and NHS England have begun a number of programmes to encourage international doctors to transition to UK practice.

Earlier this year, the GMC launched skype broadcast sessions to help participants understand the complexities of the NHS, using real-life situations.

Plus, its free Welcome to UK Practice workshops, run in London, Manchester, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh attract thousands of new joiners each year.

The virtual reality app was filmed at a practice in Raynes Park, south London.

Kim Tolley, GMC international GP recruitment programme training and development manager, said: “We hope this app will help international doctors understand the important role of GPs in the UK and how beneficial it can be to work in a supportive multidisciplinary team.”

Dr Mehreen Tahir, clinical lead for the international GP recruitment programme at NHS England, added: “I am proud of being a GP in the NHS and it has been exciting to use this technology to promote the importance of the patient journey, something I feel is vital for GPs who are new to UK practice.”