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BMA praises ‘massive contribution’ of overseas doctors

The BMA has paid tribute to the “massive contribution” of overseas doctors to the NHS.

Commenting ahead of his evidence session to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee, the BMA’s Dr Edwin Borman said: “Doctors from overseas have made a massive contribution to the NHS.  They have been absolutely crucial to the advances the service has made over the last half century.”

However, he also said that the UK’s historic dependence on overseas doctors had a negative impact on the developing world.

“Recruiting doctors from overseas meant that the UK saved money by not qualifying enough of its own doctors,” Dr Borman said.

“This had a negative impact on the health systems of some of the world’s poorest countries, and it is right that the UK is now becoming self-sufficient in producing its own medical workforce.”

Dr Borman said that although the NHS was still dependent on overseas doctors to fill senior posts, competition for training jobs had become intense. 

Commenting on recent attempts by the Government to restrict training opportunities for doctors on the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, he said: “Doctors from overseas have been hit the hardest by the Government’s failures of NHS workforce planning. The BMA has always been clear that overseas doctors already working in the NHS are entitled to fair treatment and have the right to compete for posts alongside their UK colleagues.

“However, we need to be open and honest with overseas junior doctors who are considering working in the UK.

“Their employment prospects in the NHS may be limited.”