Volunteering abroad for doctors

This page outlines opportunities to volunteer abroad in developing countries, including the UK International Trauma Register (UKIETR).

There are many opportunities for UK health professionals to volunteer in developing countries. These are through established partnerships between health institutions, non-governmental organisations, professional bodies, academic networks and scattered groups.

    • you can contribute to improving the health care systems of developing countries
    • you will gain skills and knowledge that you can use on your return, including leadership development and sharing innovation
    • in the past, the loss of continuous pension contributions for long-term volunteers was a barrier to volunteering. In 2012 a directive ensured the continuity of pension contributions of NHS employees who volunteer abroad under the Health Partnership Scheme
  • UK International Trauma Register (UKIETR)

    • if you want to respond to large-scale emergencies overseas you can register with the UK International Trauma Register (UKIETR). You can also find information on this website about working in Ebola treatment centres for the International Emergency Trauma Register (UKIETR)
    • a range of healthcare staff can register, including surgeons, anaesthetists and supporting medical, nursing and paramedical staff
    • you join an on-call register and go out as part of a national team
    • some funding is available for preparatory training

    Calcutta Rescue

    Calcutta Rescue is a non–governmental organisation operating in Kolkata and parts of rural West Bengal. It supports free medical care, education and development to the poorest and most disadvantaged people of Kolkata and rural West Bengal irrespective of gender, age, caste, or religion. 

    There are opportunities to volunteer in a range of roles (including doctors) for between 6 and 12 months (but a minimum of 3 months will be considered in special circumstances) Find out more about volunteering for Calcutta Rescue

    Calcutta Rescue has a number of support groups in many countries, including the UK. Find details of support groups

    Multi-Agency International Training and Support (MAITS)

    MAITS is a UK charity that recruits experienced UK professionals to support health and education professionals in the disability sector in under-resourced countries. This is to support staff working with children with cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and autism or working in the mental health sector or with stroke victims.

    MAITS is looking for people to volunteer their time and expertise to contribute to the development and delivery of multi-disciplinary training packages to staff in this sector. The work is UK based with short trips abroad to deliver and evaluate training packages.

    What do I need to apply?

    • a minimum of four years' working experience in your field
    • experience of conducting formal training programmes for students or professional groups
    • experience of working with culturally diverse populations, travelling in developing countries, working in developing countries, or a combination of these

    Some funding is available for flights, visas, insurance, overseas accommodation and overseas transport costs.

  • It is also recommended that you get in contact with your Royal College or professional body as they may have information on global health opportunities.

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