REACHE for a better future

26 July 2023

For many people working in health and care, their job is not simply a vocation, but it’s a calling and a part of who they are.

REACHE (Refugee and Asylum Seekers Centre for Healthcare Professionals Education) works with refugee and asylum seekers in the UK who are trained healthcare professionals to regain their professional identity and return to clinical work in the NHS.

REACHE is supported by the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, NHS England and University of Manchester and is based at Salford Care Organisation. The programme is funded by NHS England’s Northwest Workforce, Training and Education team.

Support available from REACHE to refugee and asylum seeker healthcare professionals includes education, training, examination preparation, tutoring, pastoral support, English language classes, English in practice support and work placements.

REACHE has trained over 600 refugee and asylum-seeking healthcare workers over the past 20 years, helping them access opportunities in frontline NHS practice.

There are numerous benefits to supporting asylum seekers and refugees to return to medical practice, including helping to support our workforce and reducing waitlist times. Asylum seekers and refugee healthcare professionals can also be trained and ready to work in less time than it takes to complete full medical training at university, allowing for significant cost savings and a reduction in staffing shortages. 

Doctors and nurses from the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine amongst others have all had support from the REACHE programme.

Dr Salih Suliman, Junior Doctor, Salford Care Organisation and REACHE Alumni said of his experience with the programme,

“Not being able to practice as a medical doctor was so difficult, I felt cut off from myself and my career. REACHE has helped me get my life back and helped me be able to do what I love to do, which is helping others.”

Dr Aisha Awan, GP, Clinical Lecturer and Director of REACHE said,

“REACHE supports these resilient, highly skilled medical professionals by providing them with a community and a route for them to restart their careers. Members have left their homes, lives and loved ones behind in circumstances we will never be able to fully appreciate and to also have to give up their career alongside all that trauma; it can be soul destroying.

“At REACHE we help to not only get them back on track with their healthcare jobs, but we also help them get accustomed to life in the UK, develop their language skills and help them understand the nuances of delivering care in the NHS.”

REACHE are looking for volunteers, senior clinical tutors (4 sessions per week) and overnight/weekend hosts in the Salford area for their refugee and asylum seeker healthcare professionals. If you are interested, please email

For more information on how REACHE can help, please visit REACHE Northwest.

The team from REACHE were recently featured on ITV news, you can watch it here.

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