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Medics honoured for services to refugee doctors in Scotland

11 Sep 2023

Dr Patrick Grant and Dr David Ritchie were awarded 2023 President’s Medals for their outstanding work with the Doctors Bridges Programme, which provides support and tailored educational programmes to help refugees living in Glasgow.

Two Scottish physicians who support doctors fleeing persecution and violence to return to medicine have been honoured by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Dr Patrick Grant and Dr David Ritchie were awarded 2023 President’s Medals for their outstanding work with the Doctors Bridges Programme, which provides support and tailored educational programmes to help refugees living in Glasgow.

To practice in the UK, doctors must undergo certified training and demonstrate proficient English language skills. The work of Dr Grant and Dr Ritchie provides the support needed to prepare them for working in the NHS, allowing much-needed doctors to return to the career they love.

The medals were presented at the College’s Diploma Ceremony on Tuesday (5 September) at Glasgow’s Bute Hall.

Mike McKirdy, President of the Royal College, said: “Dr Patrick Grant and Dr David Ritchie have made an outstanding contribution to medicine, the medical profession, and to patients through their work with the Bridges Programme.

“They are inspiring physicians who have worked to assist doctors who have been forced to leave their countries to escape war or persecution, enabling them to return to medical careers and in turn, to help others. For them, medicine is more than a job – it’s a way of life.

“It is a tremendous pleasure to present them with the President’s Medal for 2023.”

Dr Patrick Grant volunteered as a clinical teacher for the Bridges Programme after retiring from a life-long career in Emergency Medicine. He was a consultant at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary, moving to Glasgow Royal Infirmary before retiring in 2016.

Reflecting on being awarded with the President’s Medal, he said: “Well…I’m delighted! But it’s really recognising the Bridges Programme and all those talented people. There are a lot of people who are also working on the refugee doctors programme, our CEO Karen McIntyre and Amanda Crawford who did a huge amount, she brought us into it and she deserves a lot of credit.”

Dr David Ritchie added: “Even now, meeting some of these young doctors, from all over the planet, they’re inspiring.”

Dr David Ritchie also joined the programme after retiring from a career in Emergency Medicine. He worked as a consultant at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow, and then at the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital emergency department until retiring in 2019.

When asked what advice he would give to the College’s newest diplomates, he said: “One thing you mustn’t forget, it’s a real privilege and that’s what’s really important, the care you give to the people and people put a lot of their trust in you.

“They trust you and you must be their champion. If you are a champion for the patient and you always strive to do your best, you’ll go far.”

The doctors were joined at the Diploma Ceremony by more than 300 new diplomates, Members and Fellows from 29 countries. On the same day, the College also honoured the 2022 President’s Medal Winner, Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, for her outstanding work as lead vaccinologist for the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine.

Category: College

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