British Medical Schools Turn Away Straight-A Students While NHS Plunders Third World for Doctors

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: A doctor at the Accident and Emergency department of the recently opened Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital on February 7, 2011 in Birmingham, England. The new Queen Elizabeth Hospital accommodates 1,213 beds and 30 operating theatres. The super hospital has a 100-bed intensive care unit - …
Christopher Furlong/Getty

Straight-A students are being turned away from British medical schools and forced to pay for training in Eastern Europe, while the National Health Service (NHS) plunders the Third World for already-trained doctors instead.

The Daily Mail spoke to a number of star students who earned top A-levels and supplemented their CVs with spells volunteering at local GP surgeries, overseas clinics, hospices, and pharmacies — and even earned degrees in related fields such as Biomedical Science — who were turned away from British medical schools, despite the NHS facing a shortfall of some 10,000 doctors.

Department of Health and Social Care figures show that only 6,000 of 18,000 medical school applicants were awarded places last year — with many of the 6,000 likely going to foreign applicants, who have often been favoured over British applicants.

In fact, the Mail found that so many talented would-be medical students were being rejected that a cottage industry of English-language medical schools in countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Armenia, and Georgia have sprung up to cater to them — but even this option is not available to youngsters who cannot afford the fees.

“[Studying medicine] was a dream — something I had set my mind to — and it felt like I’d done all I possibly could to achieve it,” said Molly Sandhu, who now pays £7,000 ($9,300) a year to a Bulgarian medical school.

“I’d got straight A grades in all the right subjects; I’d gone out and got the experience. What more was I supposed to do?” she asked.

The Mail cites research published this week by the Royal College of Physicians, which suggests that Britain is training only half the number of doctors the country will require by 2030 — with the NHS increasingly turning to foreign doctors to plug the gaps.

Fully 108,000 of 289,000 doctors currently on the medical register qualified overseas, around tw0-thirds of whom qualified outside the European Union — including 25,000 from India, 12,000 from Pakistan, and 5,000 from Nigeria.

While most of these foreign doctors are perfectly capable, a disproportionate number turn out to be incompetent, with more than half of doctors subject to ‘fitness to practice’ investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC) being non-British.

Critics suggest that plundering the Third World of clinicians rather than training British talent will disincentivise poor countries from investing in medical training, as the investment is a waste of limited resources if doctors simply leave for Western countries once qualified.

However, new Home Secretary Sajid Javid does not appear to be changing course and is actually relaxing immigration controls to recruit more foreign medical personnel.

At the same time, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is making it harder to remove doctors who kill their patients from the medical register at the same time, leading to concerns that the Government is facilitating a massive fall in standards.

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