Editorials

International recruitment of health professionals

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7485.210 (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:210
  1. James Buchan, professor ([email protected])
  1. Health and Social Sciences, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh EH12 8TS (

We need to identify effective approaches to managing and moderating migration

For the United Kingdom, and some other developed countries, active international recruitment has become a solution to shortages of health professionals. However, one country's solution may become another's problem. The recent House of Commons report on migration and development1 and other commentators have highlighted the negative impact of international recruitment on the health systems of some of the main source countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.2 The issue of migration of health professionals has become an important feature of international health policy debate symbolised by the passing of a resolution at the World Health Assembly.3

How important is international recruitment to the NHS? Estimates of the inflow of doctors to the United Kingdom can be derived from the registration records of the General Medical Council. Registration data highlight …

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