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ss CMF news - spring 2010,  the wider horizon

the wider horizon

Survey of overseas members

Last year we surveyed online our members working overseas, to find out who they are, what they are doing, and how CMF could serve them better. Of the 103 respondents:

  • 4% work with mission or church organisations; the remainder in government institutions, secular NGOs, private practice and research
  • General practice is the most common specialty (27%) followed by paediatrics (12%), surgery (10%) and obstetrics (9%). The remainder were from a mixture of different specialties
  • 43% left UK as junior doctors, 46% as GPs or consultants, 3% as retirees
  • Many have made long-term commitments – 48% have been abroad for over ten years, 50% plan to spend the rest of their working life abroad

Revalidation may be challenging for many. Of those who plan to return to UK practice at some point:

  • 33% are not on either the specialist or GP registers
  • 46% have never had an NHS appraisal

Appraisers and buddies

CMF wants to do all we can to support these ambassadors for Christ. A number of CMF GPs have volunteered to give informal appraisals to overseas members, and several have been carried out and found to be helpful. Appraisals can be done online using the NHS Appraisal Toolkit. It would be helpful to have some hospital consultants advising in this area as well – could you help?

Over half of the respondents said they would be interested in a 'Buddy Scheme' in which CMF members working abroad would be paired with someone in their specialty who would send up-to-date information on developments in the specialty; eg revalidation, new guidelines, important conferences, etc. Would you be interested in being a 'buddy'?

Developing Health Course, 20 June – 2 July

This summer will see CMF's 29th course for health professionals working in resource-poor settings. Covering a wide range of topics, the course is an excellent preparation for those planning to go abroad, as well as an update for those already there. Over 30 speakers will give lectures, seminars and practical skills workshops during the two-week course. Participants may opt to come for one week only, or for selected days according to their interests. This year we are pleased to offer six bursary places for participants from developing countries – those who have come in the past have enriched the course and then taken back knowledge and skills to their own countries. Find out more at ministries

En route to All Nations...

En route is a new short course in cross-cultural mission at All Nations Christian College. This ten-week course is an excellent preparation for those preparing to work overseas and a short, one-week version En route Express, would be ideal for those going on short mission trips or medical electives. Both can also be done online – En route Explore. See

New chairman needed for International Committee

After six years of service, Bruce Richard is stepping down from the chair of CMF's International Committee. We are looking for a successor who has overseas experience and a heart for inspiring and equipping others to become involved in medical mission and international work. Enquiries to

MBEs for Alex and Eleanor Duncan

Congratulations to Alex and Eleanor Duncan who have both been awarded the MBE for their service to a rural community in Central Asia. They spent six years doing pioneering work in a very remote area where there was no healthcare provision at all. They and their four children lived in a mud house in a village of 19 houses, 15 hours' drive from the nearest town. They set up a community health programme, teaching village women basic primary healthcare and introducing growth monitoring and immunisation. During the six years they spent there, child mortality fell from 40% to 21% – an incredible achievement.

Alex explains: 'One of the most exciting things we did was to give people hope. We couldn't solve their problems but the people came to see that if we worked together, they could find ways to solve their own problems. So these people who had no hope gradually came to realise that things could change.' Alex sums up their time there as 'very hard but very, very good'.

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