Concerns are growing for NHS staff amid an increase in the share of overseas recruitment.


The number of NHS staff in England has risen after an analysis of workforce figures showed the health service is becoming more reliant on overseas recruits.

Figures from NHS Digital show the proportion of healthcare staff recruited from abroad will almost double between 2014 and 2021, according to a BBC analysis.

A number of organizations responded on Friday with fresh demands for the government to tackle the NHS staffing crisis.

According to BBC analysis, 34 per cent of doctors joining the health service in 2021 will come from overseas – up from 18 per cent in 2014.

The simple fact is that we do not have enough doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to meet the growing and complex health care needs of our population.

The broadcaster also found that the share of UK doctors joining the health service fell from 69 per cent in 2015 to 58 per cent last year, while the share of new UK nurses fell from 74 per cent to 61 per cent over the same period. is left

Meanwhile, the share of doctors recruited from outside the UK and EU increased from 18% to 34% and nurses from 7% to 34%.

Dr Kitty Mohan, head of the British Medical Society’s international committee, said the analysis showed the NHS had become too reliant on overseas doctors.

He said: “This was evidenced during the pandemic as international doctors were front and center in the battle on the NHS frontline – with a disproportionate number tragically losing their lives to the virus.

“The simple fact is that we do not have enough doctors, nurses and other medical staff to meet the growing and complex health care needs of our population.”

Dr Mohan also cited a number of reasons why doctors are reducing their hours or planning to leave the NHS, including falling pay, punishing workloads, restrictive immigration laws, and verbal and physical abuse. Included.

“We are calling on the Government and NHS England to publish a long-term workforce strategy as soon as possible,” he said.

“It should be transparent, publicly available and include details of future workforce needs based on current workforce numbers and patient need.”

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, also called for “urgent action” from the government to tackle “chronic staff shortages over the long term”.

While there is also a focus on increasing and retaining the domestic workforce, we cannot escape the fact that there are 105,000 posts in the NHS and 165,000 posts in social care.

He said: “International recruiters have always been an important part of the NHS workforce. We recognize the contribution our overseas staff make to our teams and the support we provide to our patients. And value them very much.

“International recruitment should be seen as part of a multi-pronged approach to workforce planning and the Government’s Code of Conduct for International Recruitment helps employers ensure that they adhere to ethical recruitment practices. Methods are followed.

“While there is also a focus on growing and retaining the domestic workforce, we cannot escape the fact that there are 105,000 jobs in the NHS and 165,000 in social care. We need urgent action and the new Prime Minister has a long-term I must commit to publishing a fully costed and funded workforce plan to address chronic staff shortages.

Mr Mortimer added that the Government needed a “reinstatement of realism” on the NHS “a dose of political honesty and a dialogue with the public about what the NHS is facing and how it should be dealt with by the next Prime Minister.” What is needed for”.

Patricia Marquis, director of the Royal College of Nursing in England, said the number of nursing vacancies in the NHS was “unsustainable”.

“Every vacant role makes it harder to maintain safe patient care,” he said.

“We are seeing a sharp rise in people leaving nursing, with 25,000 leaving the UK register in the last year.

“After a decade of real terms pay cuts, an increasing reliance on international recruitment and caps on education funding, our members are saying enough is enough.”

He added that while internationally recruited nurses were invaluable to the NHS “Ministers must do more to promote domestic recruitment of nursing staff”.

“One of the easiest ways to retain staff is to pay them appropriately,” he said.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are continuing to grow the NHS workforce to deliver the quantity and quality of healthcare that the Government has promised. The NHS is up 4,300 more doctors and nurses than last year. 10,200 more nurses are working, and we are on track to supply 50,000 more nurses by 2024.

“We are increasing our domestic recruitment – ​​including by opening five new medical schools and providing a 25% increase in funding for medical school places over the three years to 2020, with the first cohort graduating from foundation training this year. entering.”

“Internationally trained staff have been part of the NHS since its inception and continue to play a vital role in helping us deal with the Covid backlog. We recently visited India, the Philippines, Kenya, Malaysia and It has signed bilateral agreements with countries like Sri Lanka for cooperation in recruitment and training of nurses.