Training warning as NHSseeks doctors overseas

A drive to recruit hundreds of overseas doctors to work in the NHS was
launched last week.

But NHS experts have warned that the Government needs to provide better
training and support for overseas doctors if they are to provide an effective
solution to skills shortages.

Dr Surendar Kumar, chairman of the Overseas Doctors Association, said,
"There needs to be a proper training and induction structure in place for
recruits from different cultures.

"To expect a doctor coming from a different culture to be proficient in
how the NHS works is ridiculous. We need to introduce four- to six-week clinical
placements for overseas recruits so they can see how the NHS works."

The recruitment drive involves a worldwide advertising campaign targeting
senior doctors in Europe, Australia, Canada, Asia and the US. Spain, Germany
and Italy will receive particular attention because they train more medical
students than they have jobs for.

John Adsett, secretary for Association of Healthcare Human Resources
Management, said, "It is a big culture shock and you have to prepare
proper induction packages and be fully aware of the cultural background of the
recruits."

Adsett argued that overseas recruitment was only a short-term solution to a
staffing crisis.

"You must recruit and retain your own staff. The difficulty the NHS
faces is getting the training numbers for doctors right in the UK and
attracting enough students to the profession," he said.

Last year, the NHS Plan set a target of employing 7,500 more consultants and
2,000 more GPs by the end of 2004. #

By Karen Higginbottom

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