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April 21, 2007

Doctors Training

Farce /Tragedy and all that.

Up to 10,000 young doctors who are unable to find jobs in the NHS could be offered voluntary work overseas.

Actually, sounds like a good idea. The NHS is always accused of stealing trained doctors from countries where they are rarer than hen's teeth. So why shouldn't we send them our untrained ones?

April 21, 2007 in Health Care | Permalink


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How about offering lower wages to new doctors? That should get rid of surplus supply.

Posted by: Kit | Apr 21, 2007 10:36:13 AM

The many complaints about the computer-aided selection procedures for deciding which junior hospital doctors proceed to further training for progression to consultants jobs are understandable but I think many lay folk will have serious difficulty comprehending why all or most junior hospital doctors should have guaranteed training places on a pathway to consultants positions.

Only a few years back, there were several reports in the news then of a chronic shortage of family GPs in some districts and about persistent under-provision of GPs or because so many local GPs were on the verge of retirement. Consider, for example, this PQ on 16 September 2003:

12. Mr. Eric Illsley (Barnsley, Central): If he will make a statement on the measures taken by the Government to reduce shortages of general practitioners. [129959]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. John Hutton): As part of our commitment to increase the number of GPs, a range of measures have been implemented including financial incentives, extended opportunities for flexible working and improved family-friendly working practices. The latest figures show that the total number of GPs working in the NHS has increased by 1,500 in the past three years. In addition, we have met our target of recruiting an extra 550 GP registrars a year ahead of schedule.

More recently (January 2007), there was this news:

"LONDON (Reuters) - The National Health Service in England faces a shortage of nurses and family doctors over the next four years, according to a leaked government planning document seen by the Health Service Journal. The draft of the NHS pay and workforce strategy for 2008-11 also predicts an oversupply of 3,200 hospital consultants, the medical weekly reported on Thursday. . . "

Among other sources:

Posted by: Bob B | Apr 21, 2007 11:44:39 AM

Indentured labour, eh?

Posted by: dearieme | Apr 21, 2007 9:05:19 PM

From its very beginnings in the late 1940s, the NHS has always had a huge, centrally directed structure. There is nothing remotely like it elsewhere in western Europe: no other European healthcare organisation distributes literature boasting that with over a million employees it is the largest single employer in western Europe. But in rankings by informed, independent observers, the NHS doesn't rate particularly well - see, for example, the Euro Health Consumer Index for 2006 produced by a Swedish think-tank:

"The Euro Health Consumer Index 2006 identifies the most consumer-friendly health care system in the European union, as rated by 27 Index indicators. The 2006 Index includes all the 25 EU public healthcare systems plus Switzerland for reference.

"France emerges as the 2006 winner of the Euro Health Consumer Index, 'with a technically efficient and generously providing healthcare system'. France scores 576 out of 750 maximum points. 2005 years winner, the Netherlands, now takes the silver position, followed by Germany. Estonia and Slovakia gets the highest ranking in the category 'value for money'."

For details of country marking in the index:

The system of healthcare in France is much less centralised than in Britain. One of several reasons for the better quality of healthcare in France, is very likely that there are significantly more doctors per head of population there but with the relatively highly centralised system of healthcare in Britain, we can very sensibly ask whose fault that is?

"Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Figures published by the OECD show that the number of doctors per capita in the United Kingdom in 1998 was 1.7 per 1,000 head of population and that the number of doctors per capita in France was 3.0 per 1,000 head of population.

"These figures should be interpreted with caution, as different countries calculate the figures in different ways. The UK figures include only those doctors working in the National Health Service. Most other countries include all doctors entitled to practise. Figures for France include all active doctors, including some doctors without a medical practice."

Posted by: Bob B | Apr 21, 2007 10:58:50 PM

In case readers overlooked this news report from June 2005 which underlines the earlier comment above about the shortage of family GPs in Britain:

"Doctors have voiced concern about the growing use of foreign GPs to cover weekend shifts.

"GPs from across Europe are flying into the UK to work on Saturdays and Sundays after nine in 10 UK family doctors opted out of the work last year.

"But leading UK medics said patient care was being compromised because the GPs were unfamiliar with the NHS system."

Posted by: Bob B | Apr 21, 2007 11:16:43 PM


Here's a message to all you 'now doctors know what a competetive job market is like' - blow it out of your self-satisfied arses!

a) It's always been competetive, but the new system is a lottery - skill and competetence are not considered.

b) Doctor's jobs are being replaced with specialist nurses. Would you let the stewardess fly you to Benidorm?

c) There is NO market. These doctors are not actually able to work in the UK for themselves or anyone else but the NHS - If we had a free market the argument might be valid, but we don't, so it's not. This is a restriction of trade and is anti-free market shite.

d) It takes 5+ years to get through medical school. This is a massive and sudden shift of the goalposts half way through the game for these young doctors. Rock and a hard place?

Apparently the city is queing up to take as many of them as they can - Top 1% IQ, educated, pressure tempered, high achieving organ grinders with transferable skills - perhaps you lot should be looking over your shoulders?

Tim adds: Indeed, I'm worried. Somerset Maugham pointed out that doctors are supremely well educated to become writers.

Posted by: Dr Mustard | Apr 24, 2007 4:02:48 PM