UK welcomes 51 Indian doctors to ease doctors’ shortage
The figures, showing the number of physicians practising in all EU countries during 2010, come after a string of events which critics say show the NHS faces a staffing crisis. Related Articles Head to sunny Dorset for a little ‘re-abling by the sea 25 Jul 2013 Last summer MPs on the Health Select Committee warned that only one in five casualty wards in England had enough consultants on duty, leading it to conclude that A&E departments are in crisis. Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer for the NHS said: “Enough is enough, there can be no more cuts to budget or staffing. “There is so much pressure on NHS staff because of the shortage and the huge number of patients they treat. It’s extremely worrying, particularly as we are facing the toughest winter in years. Dr Paul Flynn, Chair of the British Medical Association Consultants Committee, said: Policy makers need to get a grip on NHS workforce planning. Projected imbalances between different specialties will have serious implications for patient care and we are already seeing the effect of staff shortages in key areas such as emergency care. In addition, despite the pledge to protect front-line services, many employers in the NHS are freezing recruitment in response to financial pressures. Dr Flynn said that staffing levels must be aligned to meet the changing demands of patients and address issues such as workload pressures and work-life balance that might be deterring medical graduates. Doctors in the NHS face increasingly challenging, high pressured and stressful work environments, often with limited resources and gruelling workloads. Only by making working practices and environments safe and sustainable will the NHS be able attract and retain the required number and mix of doctors, he said. According to OECD data, the number of doctors per head of population in the UK has been increasing from just 1.9 per 1,000 in 2000, when European average stood at 2.9. The UK has seen more rapid growth than others, narrowing the gap against the European average, which had grown to 3.4 per 1,000 in 2010.
Philippines typhoon: UK doctors speak from storm-hit country
That will start taking its toll. “It’s the lack of medication and care,” Dr Hall says. “But also any event that puts such a stress on the population, you do see a rise in heart disease and stroke.” Treating infected wounds is a top priority for medics in the Philippines Thousands have been treated by medics from the Philippines and abroad Many people in the Philippines are still desperate for help According to the WHO, 28 international medical teams are currently in the Philippines but only eight of these have started work. At 21:00 GMT on Sunday, the WHO said another 14 were expected to be operational “in the next 48 hours”. It says the Philippines government does not need any more foreign medical teams now, but will call on countries in the coming weeks to provide relief for current teams. One of the foreign medical teams is from the UK, sent by the Department for International Development. Many children in the Philippines are in need of treatment Half of the 12-strong team is now on board HMS Daring, which is heading to remote islands off the north of Cebu, where there has been limited medical help so far. The other half is heading for Tacloban, the scene of some of the worst devastation, where the medics are expected to arrive on Monday. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Steve Mannion, a member of the team which left the UK last week, says they have been told what to expect in Tacloban. “There are people presenting with very badly crushed lower limbs which may need amputation,” he says. “A week after the typhoon people are presenting with very, very badly neglected septic wounds and there have even been three deaths from septic wounds in the last few days.” Many in Tacloban and in other more remote areas have still not received the medical care they so desperately need. Treating infected wounds remains a top priority to stop more people losing limbs, or dying from sepsis.
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The doctors recruited in India will hold middle grade positions. India has long been a source of medical professionals for Britain, but the recruitment of Indian doctors was reduced to a trickle after 2006 when tighter rules prevented doctors from non-European Union from taking up training jobs in the NHS. The 51 Indian doctors have been recruited by the Wales deanery on a two-year contract, which will not lead to settlement. Leona Walsh, who led the recruitment drive and is performance manager at Cardiff University’s school of postgraduate medicine and dental education, said: “All the doctors we interviewed said the reason they were after these jobs was because of the experience of working abroad.” “More than 40 per cent of doctors working in Welsh hospitals are from overseas, which is a very large contingent. I think most patients are quite used to seeing doctors from other cultures and backgrounds within Welsh hospitals.” The first contingent of Indian doctors is expected to arrive in Wales in August and will be posted at various hospitals there. The 51 doctors have two years’ experience in their chosen speciality in India. They have been recruited from a number of specialities, including paediatrics, A and E, general surgery, trauma and orthopaedics and obstetrics and gynaecology. They will complete the necessary exams to ensure they have the right qualifications to work in Wales and register with the General Medical Council. A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: “We are working with health boards, the Wales Deanery and the BMA to find ways to recruit and retain doctors in Wales and promoting Wales as a place to live and work.” He added: “As part of this, the Wales Deanery, along with a number of deaneries in the UK, has been to India recently to recruit middle-grade doctors. Fifty-one doctors were identified for Wales and were successful at interview. The necessary arrangements for them to begin their employment here are currently being made.” Since 2006, the tighter rules have led to an acute shortage of junior doctors, leading to some local hospitals closing down specialities and emergency divisions. An Indian doctor holding a senior position in the NHS told PTI: “Many Indian doctors who were training here returned home when immigration rules were tightened in 2006, and media reports in India about the rules stopped many from coming here.” He said even though some deaneries were now recruiting from India, not many Indian doctors would be interested because immigration rules prevented them from staying for more than two years. This short period would prevent them from having a career in the NHS, he said. Given the acute shortage of doctors, the Department of Health is reported to be in favour of relaxing visa norms for Indian and other non-EU doctors, but immigration policy is the domain of the Home Office, which so far has not indicated any possibility of change. The Home Office is currently headed by Conservative leader Theresa May (Home secretary) and Damian Green (Immigration minister).