Rise in number of doctors from restricted countries
PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 September 2019
One in four doctors hired by Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) last year were trained in developing countries where recruitment is banned.
Out of the 56 doctors who joined the trust in 2018, 14 gained their medical qualifications in countries on the restricted list - according to figures from NHS Digital.
The policy is intended to prevent medical staff from being poached from their home countries, which are in receipt of foreign aid and are often short of medics.
Trusts can consider applications from doctors in restricted countries on an individual basis, as long as they are not directly targeted in recruitment drives.
Doctors were hired by WAHT from restricted countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria - with three training in each.
WAHT confirmed it has not carried out any recruitment drives in the restricted countries and stressed anyone can apply for a post and their applications will be considered on merit.
Its spokesman said: "The data clearly refers to where the doctors originally gained their qualification so will include those already living and working in this country.
"The trust is aware and understands the need to prevent active recruitment from certain countries and abides by this guidance."
Leading think tank, the King's Fund, has warned NHS trusts not to stray from ethical recruitment guidelines in the face of possible post-Brexit staff shortages.
Alex Baylis, assistant director of policy at the King's Fund, said staff shortages had been exacerbated by a 'dramatic drop-off' in workers coming from Europe since the Brexit vote.
He said: "Many NHS services are trying to find staff wherever they can, but international recruitment must be done ethically and there are codes of practice on ethical recruitment for a reason.
"It's essential the NHS complies with these guidelines even when they are under pressure to plug rota gaps."
Across England, the number of doctors recruited from banned countries has been rising.
In 2015-16, there were 2,192 recruits - 13 per cent of doctors hired that year.
By 2018-19, this had risen to 3,686 - 19 per cent.
The highest proportion - 1,006 doctors - came from Pakistan, followed by 736 from Nigeria and 501 from Egypt.