NHS workforce planning has again come under the spotlight after a bid to give UK-trained doctors priority in applying for jobs failed.
The Department of Health wanted to introduce restrictions where overseas doctors would only have been given work if suitable UK doctors were not available.
But the House of Lords ruled that this would have meant penalising the thousands of overseas doctors who came to work in the NHS in recent years to plug gaps in the service.
Dr Terry John, chairman of the British Medical Association’s international committee, welcomed the judgment. “It’s right that we have a debate about the numbers of doctors coming to the UK in future, but it’s completely wrong to scapegoat those already here.
“They are providing a vital service, and the government’s continued attempts to change the rules after they’ve already committed themselves to the NHS are unfair.
“Junior doctors from the UK and overseas alike have been affected by the lack of proper workforce planning in the NHS. We need long-term solutions, not knee-jerk reactions.”
Last year’s chaos with the application system for junior doctors was partly caused by huge numbers of medics applying for limited numbers of posts.