Junior Doctor shortage sees new overseas recruitment drive
A shortage of junior doctors to start work in hospitals this August is forcing the NHS to try to recruit from India.Tighter immigration rules introduced in recent years meant many overseas medics left Britain and returned home.
But the exodus, added to new European regulations limiting the hours of doctors, caused unfilled vacancies.
Attempts to recruit scores of Indian doctors foundered on a disagreement between government departments.
“We pulled the plug on overseas recruitment far too quickly,” said Professor Derek Gallen, who is postgraduate dean of medical training for Wales.
“We didn’t realise what the implications of that action would be two, three or four years down the line,” he added.
The Welsh Deanery is one of four medical training schools across the UK which has been recruiting in India over this year.
The other deaneries involved cover the Severn area, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland. In total, they plan to take more than 100 junior doctors over to the NHS.
The deaneries are looking to recruit in areas such as paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology, anaesthesia, as well as accident and emergency.
The need for junior doctors is most acute outside the big metropolitan areas.
The European Working Time Directive, which was fully introduced into the NHS last August, limits doctors to working no more than 48 hours per week and has left gaps on rotas.
Some district general hospitals have had trouble attracting enough staff to cope with the changes leading, in some cases, to services being cut.
In May, the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy had to close its accident and emergency department overnight for a week due to a shortage of junior doctors.
At Erne hospital in Enniskillen, its obstetric and gynecology service had to be suspended for several weeks for the same reason.
The shortage of junior doctors means hospitals are struggling to fill vacancies, and having to devise their own initiatives to recruit doctors wherever they can find them.
Tags: Doctors, GPs, Health Direct, Health Professionals, Junior Doctors, NHS fiasco, red tape