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Letter to Guardian on foreign staff

07 Oct 2016

The government, the NHS and the public need to value and support all NHS staff, wherever they are from (Hunt promises to end NHS reliance on overseas doctors, 4 October). The recent announcement of 1,500 extra medical school places is welcome. But, as over a quarter of current NHS doctors are from overseas, the extra places will not in themselves produce a self-sufficient UK medical workforce, and we will still need our overseas doctors.

The announcement has led to our colleagues from overseas feeling that they may not be as valued as UK doctors and is affecting morale. We cannot let this happen.

Currently a quarter of NHS doctors are from overseas, and the NHS has benefited from their talents, their abilities and their will to work with us in the UK. We must continue to support them, despite the insecurity caused by the Brexit situation, and reassure them that they are valued and needed.
Diseases know no borders, and medicine has therefore developed as an international profession, with global cooperation in research, drug development, standards of patient care, and free movement of doctors around the world. This model has served the UK and the NHS well for decades. Moving away from it is a major risk to the success of the NHS.

Professor Jane Dacre
President, Royal College of Physicians

Clare Marx
President, Royal College of Surgeons

The Guardian has also run a news piece reporting the letter.

The Department of Health issued a statement in response to the letter via Twitter on Friday saying that the announcement of more medical school places “in no way diminished the fact that we want to see the outstanding working of doctors who are already trained overseas continue in the NHS.”:

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