...BlogsA connection between RefuAid and OET meant I can now use my GP skills in the NHS – I’ll be forever grateful 
A connection between RefuAid and OET meant I can now use my GP skills in the NHS – I’ll be forever grateful 

In 2013, Daban Abdulla, a dedicated and passionate general practitioner, completed her medical training in Northern Iraq. When she and her husband, Dana, arrived in the UK, she was eager to continue her medical career and contribute to the healthcare system. However, Daban, then 34, faced a new challenge: proving her proficiency in English. 

The transition to practicing medicine in the UK seemed daunting due to the language barrier, and Daban worried that her limited English skills would prevent her from achieving her goals. "I came here completely blind, I didn’t know where to start," she recalls. "I wasn’t sure that my English skills were good enough and it was going to be really expensive to take the training or tests. We didn’t have the spare funds needed or any family who could help us." 

Fortunately, Daban's journey took a positive turn when a friend informed her about RefuAid and OET. RefuAid, in collaboration with OET, provides free training and testing for medical professionals like Daban. This opportunity was a game-changer, enabling her to access the resources she needed to overcome the language barrier and gain the confidence to work in the UK. 

"Being supported to take and pass the required tests has made a big difference to my life," Daban shares. "It has made our new life possible. It was like having an angel in my life - I’m so grateful." 

With the support from RefuAid and OET, Daban embarked on a structured pathway, participating in online lessons and free OET Test preparation classes. "It meant I was on a pathway," she explains. "There was great support and I felt really well prepared." 

Daban’s hard work and dedication paid off. She now works as part of the critical care team at Southampton Hospital. Despite the challenging nature of her role, including night shifts and the demanding environment of a critical care unit, Daban thrives in her position. "I really enjoy my work," she says. "It’s an amazing hospital, a great team. The NHS still needs a lot of doctors so I am glad I can play my part." 

Daban’s story highlights the critical role that support programs like RefuAid and OET play in helping skilled professionals integrate into new healthcare systems. For Daban, these programs were the key to unlocking her potential and allowing her to continue her passion for medicine in the UK. "RefuAid and OET helped me get past what seemed like big barriers. I wish I’d known about them sooner." 

The ability to use her GP skills in the NHS has not only fulfilled her professional ambitions but has also made a significant impact on her personal life. Living in Southampton with her husband and their two young children, Daban is now a vital part of her community, providing essential care to patients and contributing to the overall health of the population. 

Daban’s experience serves as an inspiring example for other refugee healthcare professionals who may be facing similar challenges. For Daban, the free OET Test was a lifeline, allowing her to use her valuable skills and continue her vocation of helping others. She will be forever grateful for the opportunity that transformed her life and allowed her to pursue her dreams in the NHS.