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UK looks to India to ease doctors' shortage

Faced with an acute shortage of doctors, several deaneries in Britain have embarked on a recruitment drive in India, with the Wales deanery all set to welcome 51 medical professionals from India to various London hospitals.

world Updated: Jul 07, 2010 17:02 IST

Faced with an acute shortage of doctors, several deaneries in Britain have embarked on a recruitment drive in India, with the Wales deanery all set to welcome 51 medical professionals from India to various London hospitals.

In Wales alone, there is a shortage of 400 doctors, which has sparked fears that medical services will have to be curtailed if qualified doctors are not appointed to the vacant posts.

The doctors recruited in India will hold middle grade positions.

India has long been a source of medical professionals for Britain, but the recruitment of Indian doctors was reduced to a trickle after 2006 when tighter rules prevented doctors from non-European Union from taking up training jobs in the NHS.

The 51 Indian doctors have been recruited by the Wales deanery on a two-year contract, which will not lead to settlement.

Leona Walsh, who led the recruitment drive and is performance manager at Cardiff University's school of postgraduate medicine and dental education, said: "All the doctors we interviewed said the reason they were after these jobs was because of the experience of working abroad."

"More than 40 per cent of doctors working in Welsh hospitals are from overseas, which is a very large contingent. I think most patients are quite used to seeing doctors from other cultures and backgrounds within Welsh hospitals."

The first contingent of Indian doctors is expected to arrive in Wales in August and will be posted at various hospitals there.

The 51 doctors have two years' experience in their chosen speciality in India.

They have been recruited from a number of specialities, including paediatrics, A and E, general surgery, trauma and orthopaedics and obstetrics and gynaecology.

They will complete the necessary exams to ensure they have the right qualifications to work in Wales and register with the General Medical Council.