Helal Attayee

Helal Attayee is a refugee doctor from Afghanistan. He received a grant from BMA Charities in 2015 to pay for his GMC registration and medical degree document translation costs.

“You’re a new person in a new environment and you don’t know anyone. There’s no one to send you money. Without BMA Charities’ help and funding, I would have had difficulties qualifying in the UK.”

Helal is currently in GP training at Southampton General Hospital. He came to the UK as a refugee in 2012 and approached BMA Charities for help to pay for his GMC registration fee and translation costs associated with his primary medical degree documents.

“I came to the UK from Afghanistan in 2012 and applied for refugee status. At first, they refused my case. I appealed and won, but that took a long time. I finally started trying to pass my GMC exams to get registration in September 2015. To become a doctor in the UK means we have to pass medical exams and each one costs a lot of money. When you come to the UK it’s hard to find a job and even if you do, you can’t focus on your studies and work at the same time.

There were two times I was very happy after I came to the UK. The first was the day I passed my IELTS exam. The second was when I got GMC registration because it meant I was formally a doctor in the UK, finally. I would have become a doctor eventually, but it would have been much later without the BMA Charities grant. I would have had to work for that money and finding a job is not easy in the UK.

The BMA Charities grant changed a lot for me. The process of applying was very smooth: your responses were prompt and we talked on the phone as well, where you explained the process to me. The grant was given very quickly. At the time I was not working, I was just trying to pass my exams and that money was a lot for me.

Right now, I’m in GP training at Southampton General Hospital. I want to become a GP because my friends always said I’m a good listener. The work-life balance is better too; and if you’re a GP you can also have a specialty interest. There’s a lot of opportunity. BMA Charities showed me the way here. If someone comes to the UK, they don’t know the system, and you are placed to signpost the way. I’m so grateful that there was someone who could help me.”