Foreign Focus: Implications of the Lack of British Health Care Workers

In Britain the NHS is often known for being at the centre of speculation and debate and recent media reports have been no different. There is a great deal of concern surrounding those that are working for the NHS and whether they are able to offer the standard of care that we have come to expect and it all boils down to the nationality of the health care workers. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of appointments of foreign doctors and there are now reports to show that not only are patients unhappy with this, they are simply not receiving the same standard of care that British doctors are able to offer.

Foreign doctors do not receive the same education as those who are trained in the UK and this is beginning to become clear through ordinary patient treatment. The use of medical equipment from suppliers such as, the diagnoses made and the way a foreign doctor engages with patients differs greatly from UK doctors and debate has now begun over whether or not foreign appointments should continue as they are.

Cause for Concern

25,000 doctors currently working in the UK are from India, high levels of Eastern European and African trained doctors are leaving their native countries to instead work in the UK where money and equipment is better leaving their own countries in health care turmoil.

With so many countries severely lacking medical professionals, there is now an influx of deadly diseases making a comeback and populations are being crippled by the distinct lack of health care and medical advice.

The education and training that foreign doctors receive differs greatly from the training, which takes place in the UK, and there is concern that patients are not being treated correctly and in line with UK medical standards as well the fear that patients are being misdiagnosed or even neglected.

People are most frustrated and concerned by the following:

The language barrier means communication with doctors and nurses is becoming increasingly difficult
There is a lack of understanding towards UK culture and the way the NHS works
Patients and officials are most concerned with the prospect of bad diagnoses

What’s the Answer?

The main reason behind the NHS making foreign appointments is due to the amount of money that is saved. Billions of pounds is saved each year through the cheaper salaries of foreign doctors and the reduction in UK based health care training. Unfortunately, whilst money remains restricted for the NHS there is little that will change. Foreign appointments are significantly cheaper and it fills the empty positions of health care workers so the NHS will continue down this path.

The biggest change that is due will be to raise the standards of the foreign workers to bring them into line with UK standards and increase the likelihood of better patient care. There is also a need to encourage more UK residents to consider a career in medicine to reduce the overwhelming staff shortages in UK hospitals.

Article courtesy of Debbie Fletcher who is an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of difference magazines and news publications. Follow her here: @Debbie_Fletch18