For years, Britain has been failing to train enough doctors and has been importing them instead. This has been a well-known and much lamented fact, raising several ethical issues. Is it right for us to rob developing countries of their much-needed medics? Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, said at the Spectator’s health summit this week that Britain should stop ‘denuding low-income countries of health professionals they need’. Quite so.
Which makes it all the more shocking that last year, for the first time ever, the UK imported more doctors than it trained. And the problem Stevens highlights has, under his leadership, been getting steadily worse. Look at the number of new doctors registering with the General Medical Council: three years ago, 44 per cent were foreign-trained.