OECD Report: India Biggest Exporter of Doctors and Nurses to Europe

December 29, 2015Indiaby EW News Desk Team


A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has made some interesting findings about the pedigrees of doctors and nurses in Europe. As it turns out, a great number of these medical professionals came from India. In fact, India has been identified as the largest exporter of doctors and nurses to Europe.

In the United Kingdom, about 35 percent of National Health Service (NHS) doctors were born abroad. Of those, India and the Philippines were the most common point of origin by a wide margin. In fact, the UK is among the most dependent European Union nations when it comes to foreign doctors and nurses. In addition to the 35 percent foreign doctor contingent, the nation also has a nurse population made up of 21.7 percent immigrants, as well. 

Of course, the UK is not alone in its reliance on foreign born and educated medical personnel. Luxembourg, Ireland, and Estonia are actually more reliant on immigrant medical professionals than the UK, and many other nations fall close behind.  

Strangely, while Europe heavily imports foreign doctors to service its own population, its member states also heavily contribute to foreign medical personnel overseas. According to the OECD report, Germany and the UK export nearly 20,000 doctors and more than 50,000 and nurses apiece. India and the Philippines dwarf their numbers.

According to a report by the Daily Mail, while India is the biggest exporter of doctors and nurses, the UK has become the second largest importer (following only the United States). Unfortunately, a separate study found patients tend to be less satisfied with their medical care when treated by foreign-born nurses. 

The OECD report also noted that the UK experienced the largest increase in foreign-born doctors. In response to the findings, published in a report slated for release just after the New Year, Katherine Murphy, and Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: "The NHS could not function without the significant contribution made by doctors and nurses from other countries. However ... there can be real issues ... including problems with communication and a lack of understanding of processes ... Trusts and practices must make sure that overseas staff has the necessary support and training.

The UK's Department of Health countered the study's findings, saying the basis was on outdated figures from 2011. According to the Department, the number of foreign-born doctors in England has declined since the study. It also noted that a number of recent reforms have taken effect aimed at increasing the number of native-born doctors and nurses that continue to practice at home.

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