Overseas-trained doctors form an essential part of the UK’s medical workforce and ‘enhance the NHS’, the BMA advised MPs ahead of a debate on immigration held earlier this week in the House of Commons.
The debate came about through an e-petition calling for an end to all immigration in the UK.
In a parliamentary briefing, the BMA said international medical graduate (IMG) doctors ‘have become essential members of the UK’s medical workforce’ and that ‘the NHS is dependent on IMG doctors to provide a high-quality, reliable and safe service to patients’.
The briefing added that BMA did not support ‘unfettered migration’ of overseas doctors and recognised the ‘principle of reducing reliance on migrant workers and training and upskilling UK resident workers’.
However, ‘employers must have the capacity to recruit and retrain overseas doctors where other solutions to staffing have been unsuccessful and where a clear workforce need exists’, it said.
The debate came after shortly the Government announced nursing would be placed on the shortage occupation list, to make it easier to recruit nurses from outside the European Economic Area.
The RCGP wants general practice to be added to the list as well, to try to boost recruitment to the profession, but the Home Office confirmed to Pulse that the latest changes would not affect GPs.