Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Christian Medical Fellowship calls for NHS to stop taking medics from countries who need them

Fri 17 May 2019
By Cara Bentley

The NHS have been accused of taking one in four medics from countries that are in dire need of their own health professionals.

There are 97 countries which have been identified by the UK departments for Health and Social Care and that of International Development that 'should not be actively recruited from', including Pakistan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Myanmar and Zimbabwe.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the number of doctors and nurses being recruited from these countries though is in breach of the NHS's ethical rules - for example, 3,413 doctors were recruited from Pakistan betweeen 2014-2019. 

Steve Fouch from the Christian Medical Fellowship said this was happening becuase of a global shortage of medical professionals, as well as midwives and nurses, so the UK are looking elsewhere.

"So we've got a problem with training people and keeping people which means we are running about 10% short on all nursing vacancies across the country and, in some places, it's a lot higher - and almost as bad as that with medical vacancies, especially for junior doctors. So, we are in quite a difficult situation at the moment."

 

 

He continued: "If we end up with, as actually did happen, most of the nurses and doctors from Malawi were working in the UK at one stage and a significant proportion of nurses and doctors from Zimbabwe likewise, who's going to actually staff the health care system, the hospitals, GP surgeries and everything else in those countries if we've taken all of their own health professionals to work here?

"So that's one big issue that we have sought to address but what seems to be happening in this particular instance is there are a number of recruitment agencies who don't abide by these guidelines and some NHS trusts are using these agencies and that seems to be the big problem.

"There are agencies who go into places they know that there are people who want to come and work here, because the pay and the conditions are better, there's a chance for further training and career development. So, there's an incentive for the doctors and nurses from developing countries to come and work in the UK. It looks really good on your CV and you're earning money for yourself and your family."

Steve Fouch explained how this absence of staff abroad leads to more women dying in childbirth because there aren't midwives, more people dying of cancer and more infant mortality.

He added that the countries with the biggest burden of disease have the fewest health professionals: "You see hospitals that are empty or entirely staffed by family members with virtually no medical staff."

The World Health Organisation reckon the world is 17-20 million health professionals short. 

 

Listen to the whole interview here: 

  

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