British medical experts believe the National Health Service (NHS) will face a glut of specialist doctors by 2011, a situation expected to further reduce the employability of doctors of Indian origin.
New documents leaked to the Health Service Journal show that according to a draft workforce strategy from the department of health, NHS in England is heading for an unwanted surplus of 3,200 consultants by March 2011, "which we cannot afford to employ".
Changes in the doctors training scheme announced in April 2006 have made it difficult for non-European doctors to seek work in NHS. Due to a larger number of British students graduating from medical schools and a European Union-wide employment pool, doctors from non-EU countries have been placed lower in the employability order.
Several hospital trusts in Britain are facing budgetary cuts, forcing them to reduce the numbers of doctors and nurses employed. Many trusts have outsourced medical transcription to India to reduce costs and meet budget deficits.
According to the documents, there would also be 16,200 too many therapists, scientists and technicians, but also shortages of 14,000 nurses, 1,200 general practitioners and 1,100 junior doctors. This situation, it believes, will cause serious disruption of services.
During the current financial year, there has been a 2.7 percent cut in the NHS workforce to eliminate overspending.
Officials admit that government policies are contributing to huge swings in demand for staff.
After a 2.7 percent cut in the workforce in the current financial year to eliminate NHS overspending, there will be a recruitment surge to prepare trusts to meet a December 2008 deadline to reduce maximum waiting times to 18 weeks. Demand for nurses and doctors would then dip after the deadline passes.
The document, written Nov 27, was leaked to the Health Service Journal and The Guardian said its authenticity was not challenged by the department.
A health department spokesperson said: "To portray a responsible piece of planning as another crisis for NHS is alarmist mischief-making on a grand scale. This work is at an early stage ... Some of these ideas will be dropped and some will become policy."