Trusts should be compensated financially by the NHS for employing doctors from developing countries, a Tory MP has argued.
Speaking at a Conservative Party fringe event yesterday, Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy said this was in line with white paper proposals that employers should take greater responsibility for the health workforce.
This principle should be extended to responsibility for the global healthcare workforce, he said, to boost the skills of healthcare professionals in the developing world.
Mr Lefroy said: “There’s a very strong argument to be made that those who take on people trained oversees, particularly from developing countries… should be compensated by the health service here.”
This would help doctors to learn the latest healthcare techniques, which could then be taken back with them to their home countries.
The NHS would also be benefiting from the fact that the developing country would already have paid for the doctors’ basic training, he said.
Mr Lefroy runs a charity, Equity for Africa, and formerly lived in Tanzania, where his GP wife ran a public health education programme.
British Medical Association international committee chair Terry John agreed the NHS needed to make it more attractive for overseas doctors to work in the UK, by reducing red tape and offering extensive training.
However, he said trusts had to ensure migrant doctors were not just brought in to plug rota gaps.
University of Sussex Professor Ronald Skeldon said many doctors did not return to their home countries after working in Western hospitals.
But he said the government’s planned immigration cap would be “counter productive”, as the NHS and other industries relied on overseas workers. Instead, efforts should be made to ensure doctors were also able to access local training in their own countries.