Medicopolitical Digest

The NHS should not rely on overseas doctorsBMA stress counselling service to continueMature medical students are disadvantagedGPs to get guidance on primary care bill

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 25 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:310

The NHS should not rely on overseas doctors

Britain should produce sufficient doctors and not rely on those from overseas to shore up the NHS.

In its evidence to the Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee (MWSAC) the General Medical Services Committee was unanimous that it was iniquitous that a developed country should not be self sufficient. The MWSAC is a statutory body which advises the health secretary on future developments in the balance of medical manpower supply and demand and makes recommendations about the medical school intake, including the balance between home and overseas students and the timing of any changes.

In its last report the MWSAC said that it was wrong that Britain should continue to be a net importer of doctors. In Primary Care: Delivering the Future, however, the government pointed out that doctors from outside the European Economic Area were an important source of supply for NHS hospital services and it said that it proposed to consult on whether immigration rules which limited the ability of general practice to benefit from the contribution of overseas doctors should be eased or lifted.

The GMSC's evidence points out that the number of doctors training for general pactice had been steadily falling over the past …

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