NHS accused of breaking recruitment rules

The Telegraph has uncovered evidence that the health service is targeting medics from developing countries which are supposed to be protected by ethical codes.

Despite strict rules which are supposed to protect the poorest parts of the world, identified by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for International Development, the investigation claims that the health service is targeting medics from such countries - including Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The 97 countries on the list ‘should not be actively recruited from’ because they are in receipt of aid, and often suffering from shortages of medics. However, the number of doctors coming from such countries to work in the UK has doubled in the last two years.

Figures from the General Medical Council (GMC) show that 27 per cent of all new medics joining the medical register last year came from countries on the ‘banned’ list, with more than 12,000 registrations from such locations in the last five years.

Richard Murray, chief executive of think tank the King’s Fund, said: “The workforce shortages in the NHS mean it does need international recruitment but it needs to be done ethically - increases on this scale from these countries are going to bring the UK into disrepute. I think organisations are so desperate to get staff that they just aren’t checking whether it is done ethically.”

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