Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Personal views

How to halt the brain drain

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 13 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:921
  1. Imre Loefler, editor (
  1. Nairobi Hospital Proceedings, Kenya

    Some say that to take away doctors and nurses from the developing world is a crime. But why are there currently so many overseas doctors and nurses in Britain, for example, and why does such a large proportion of NHS staff come from the developing world?

    There are several good reasons: the niche is becoming increasingly larger as health care has become the largest industry; the British government is spending so much money on the NHS; because of the European Working Time Directive there is a need for more doctors; British health professionals are becoming increasingly demoralised and humiliated by politicians and managers; and young Britons do not aspire to become doctors or nurses any more. There is another reason: the peoples of the former British colonies outnumber those of the French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Danish put together, they speak English, and they went to medical and nursing schools that followed in principle the tradition of British medical education and training. …

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