UK Slammed for Its 'Unethical' Poaching of African Health Workers

Two doctors have written a scathing letter in the South African Medical Journal, criticising the United Kingdom (UK) for hiring a disproportionate number of health workers from low-resource countries, several of which are African. They point out that a recent report by the UK's General Medical Council (GMC) "suggested that 'overall numbers will need to rise further'". The GMC report stated that the UK will require "a continuation of the large number of doctors from overseas joining our workforce". They point out that in 2019 nearly 35% of doctors licensed to practice in the UK had obtained their qualifications overseas. About 1,719 are from South Africa, 806 from Kenya, 4,192 from Zimbabwe and 8,241 from Nigeria. The House of Commons reports that the proportion of non-EU nurses at the NHS rose from 8% in 2015 to 22% between 2019 and 2020. Professor Fagan of the Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Cape Town, told GroundUp there is a distinction between migration and recruiting. "I have no problem with migrating but I do have a problem with countries recruiting and I think that's where I draw the line. I understand there are doctors and nurses in this country who want to seek greener pastures elsewhere because things are often difficult here. I do have a problem with an active recruitment process that is happening in the UK."

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