Revealed: The UK is more reliant on foreign doctors than any other major EU nation with a third born overseas
- More than a third of doctors – 35.4 per cent – in the UK were born abroad
- Study puts us ahead of every other country in the EU bar Luxembourg
- Just 5 per cent of overseas medics in Italy and 10.7 per cent in Germany
PUBLISHED: 23:56 GMT, 27 December 2015 | UPDATED: 01:49 GMT, 28 December 2015
Britain relies more on foreign-born doctors than any other major EU country, a report found.
An international study reveals more than a third of UK doctors – 35.4 per cent – were born abroad in the most recent comparable year.
This puts us ahead of every other country in the EU bar Luxembourg – starkly revealing the extent to which the NHS relies on overseas labour to man its short-staffed wards.
The figures, from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), found the level of foreign doctors in Britain was far higher than in comparable countries.
Britain relies more on foreign-born doctors than any other major EU country, a report found (stock image)
Overseas medics represented just 5 per cent in Italy, 10.7 per cent in Germany and 19.5 per cent in France.
Critics say the NHS relies too much on foreign-born doctors because it does not train enough British ones. They also claim it does not do enough to ensure doctors trained here at taxpayers’ expense do not emigrate.
The study, based on data for 2011 or the nearest year, also shows Britain was among the most reliant on foreign nurses. Some 21.7 per cent were born abroad, with only Luxembourg, Ireland and Estonia more reliant in the EU.
The figures come as the health service faces another winter crisis in A&E departments – thanks in part to low staff levels.
The study – the OECD’s International Migration Outlook 2015 – found Britain is now the world’s second-most popular destination for migrant doctors. The UK imports 14 per cent of all foreign-born medics who practise in OECD states – behind only the US.
Earlier this month, a study found patients are less happy when they are looked after by foreign-born nurses. This may partly be due to language difficulties or a lack of cultural awareness, researchers said.
The UK experienced the largest rise in overseas doctors – an increase of 34,000 between 2000/01 and 2010/11, the OECD said. But while it was forced to look abroad for NHS staff, Britain was also one of the largest exporters of doctors and nurses. The study found more than 50,000 British nurses now work in other OECD nations – behind only the Philippines and India. And 17,000 UK doctors have gone to other OECD states – behind India, China and Germany.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: ‘The NHS could not function without the significant contribution made by doctors and nurses from other countries. However… there can be real issues… including problems with communication and a lack of understanding of processes.
‘Trusts and practices must make sure that overseas staff have the necessary support and training.’
The Department of Health said the number of foreign-born doctors in England had fallen since the study – which is based on UK-wide figures. It said last year the figure was around 25 per cent, and that recent reforms aimed to increase the supply of home-grown staff.
A spokesman added: ‘Overseas staff are a crucial part of the NHS team but they must have the relevant qualifications and good communication skills. There are already more than 8,500 additional nurses on our wards and 10,100 more doctors since 2010.’
The Ethiopian GP who scored ZERO on some medical tests
By JIM NORTON FOR THE DAILY MAIL
An Ethiopian doctor who recorded the lowest marks ever seen in a professional assessment was allowed to work in the NHS for eight years.
Ruga Alemayehu, 52, was reported at least twice to the General Medical Council (GMC) for putting patients at risk and leaving them in tears after appointments.
But it was only when he was caught lying about the death of a patient that he was finally struck off by a medical tribunal earlier this month.
The doctor scored zero on some of the knowledge and competency exams he had to take for the hearing – and his overall results were so ‘woeful’ even an unqualified medical student would be expected to do better.
Ruga Alemayehu, who recorded the lowest marks ever seen in a professional assessment, was allowed to work in the NHS for eight years
Colleagues at a GP surgery where Mr Alemayehu worked said he left patients in tears and was caught self-prescribing weight-loss pills.
He was finally suspended in March after giving false evidence in the inquest for a 38-year-old inmate at HMP Littlehey, Cambridgeshire.
The father of one, who qualified in Ukraine in 1990, said: ‘I have my way of assessing a patient and my way of treating a patient. That’s my way… I’m only human. We all make mistakes.’
This month, a fitness to practise hearing in Manchester ruled that his conduct was ‘a serious departure from, and a reckless disregard of, the principles of good medical practice’.
Mr Alemayehu began working as a locum doctor in the NHS after he was encouraged by the health service to come to the UK in 2008.
But it wasn’t until last year when he became a partner at Shakespeare Avenue Surgery in Hayes, Middlesex, that colleagues began to raise concerns about his behaviour and he was first reported to the GMC.
Mr Alemayehu scored just 22 per cent in a knowledge test and 21 per cent in a simulated surgery test.
He scored zero on two tests – one of which was ‘end of life decisions’ – and just 3 per cent for ‘domestic violence assessments’. Examiner Richard Harker told the hearing: ‘As far as I know that’s the lowest score in a knowledge test I have ever seen.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3375783/The-UK-reliant-foreign-doctors-major-EU-nation-born-overseas.html#ixzz3vo3E94VY