Indian Doctors Flown In To Meet UK Staff Shortages

  • Indian Doctors Flown In To Meet UK Staff Shortages

Indian Doctors Flown In To Meet UK Staff Shortages

The World Health Organisation says there's a global shortage of over 2 million doctors - we're not the only country with an ageing population. That reflects well on those doctors.

"Currently, we rely heavily on doctors from overseas - who do a fantastic job but are often taken from developing countries that need them - as well as expensive agency staff".

Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt is announcing a dramatic expansion of medical student places, as he speaks at the Conservative conference in Birmingham.

He said medical schools in United Kingdom will be allowed to offer up to 1,500 extra training places a year as new figures indicated that one in four NHS doctors have been trained overseas. Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, said an increase in the number of UK-trained medical staff has been a long time coming, but said the proposal doesn't go far enough. Our mission is not just to raise standards of care today, but to prepare our health service for the future.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has promised to deliver 25 per cent more training posts for the UK's medical students to make Britain a more "self-sufficient" country.

But the British Medical Association (BMA) said boosting home-grown doctor numbers would only partially solve recruitment problems in the NHS and would not stop health authorities needing to recruit from overseas.

"With the NHS facing unprecedented pressure, it is critical to focus on how to assure its long-term future".

There is now a 6,000 cap on numbers of medical students.

The Health Secretary is also risking a fresh clash with the medical profession by vowing to punish newly trained doctors who leave the United Kingdom for countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand, says The Independent.

It said: "The ambition to expand and improve services is laudable but without extra staff, funds and resources it is simply not possible and this is felt keenly by consultants, junior doctors and all other staff across the NHS".

Starting this month, a new contract for training doctors is being phased in over the next 12 months that will increase weekend hours but reduce weekend pay, as part of the so-called seven-day NHS policy.

Hunt will set out a series of measures aimed at cutting back on the NHS's reliance on foreign-trained doctors.

Before individual medical schools are allowed to lift the cap on training places, they will have to show the government they are taking steps to attract students from deprived economic backgrounds.

The Health Secretary said leaving the European Union will "throw into sharp relief the number of doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants we need to import every year in order to sustain our health system".

"The government's poor workforce planning has meant that the health service is now facing huge and predictable staff shortages", he said.

While it is welcome that he has finally admitted the government has failed to train enough doctors to meet rising demand, this announcement falls far short of what is needed.

In an impassioned speech Mr Hunt said he believes "totally and utterly in our NHS" and praised mum Melissa Mead, who lost her son William to sepsis.

"It's people who are trained at the taxpayer's expense and then very quickly move overseas - that's what we are trying to disincentivise".