Exodus of doctors to UK feared - 28/5/2006

link to times

Exodus of doctors to UK feared
Cynthia Busuttil

A British decision to recruit doctors only from EU countries as from August might spell trouble for Malta, according to Medical Association of Malta general secretary Martin Balzan.

Dr Balzan told The Times that if British hospitals stop recruiting doctors from non-European countries, this might mean more vacancies would be filled by Maltese doctors.

The UK and US have long been under pressure from Commonwealth countries to become self-sufficient when it comes to doctors.

He explained that the migration of trained doctors was severely affecting developing countries, where the number of doctors per capita was very low.

Malta was also affected, and the MAM has long been lamenting the brain drain. Dr Balzan voiced concern that things might get worse.

The issue of brain drain was raised during a meeting of Commonwealth health ministers last Sunday.

The ministers expressed their concerns about the crisis in human resources for the delivery of health care caused by the global shortage of more than four million health professionals. They said it would be impossible for many countries to keep the highest standards of health unless urgent action to improve the situation was taken.

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