International doctors 'essential' for UK's health care system, says medical association
'UK needs international medical graduates and it needs them to receive fair pay, conditions and training opportunities,' says union leader
By Aysu Bicer
LONDON (AA) - Given the shortages in the UK medical workforce, international doctors are "essential," according to the British Medical Association (BMA) on Friday.
"UK needs international medical graduates and it needs them to receive fair pay, conditions and training opportunities," said BMA council deputy chair Emma Runswick.
She underlined the social care sector is already facing a staggering 165,000 job vacancies, adding that wages have not seen an increase to attract more workers to the field.
Nine out of 10 care workers earn less than £15 per hour, she said, adding that solidarity among workers is crucial because it empowers them to come together and organize effectively.
It is important to recognize that immigrants, in general, make significant positive contributions to both the economy and society, she added.
In England alone, there are over 8,500 medical secondary care vacancies, despite the contribution of "our international colleagues," according to BMA.
These unfilled positions are significantly affecting doctors. A staggering 70% of doctors reported working beyond their scheduled hours in 2022, a notable increase from 59% in 2021.
Additionally, stress levels have taken a toll, with 22% of doctors having to take a leave of absence in the past year due to this burden, the union said.
The demand for medical services is substantial, but the supply of qualified professionals falls far short of meeting it.
Junior doctors in England will stage a four-day walkout next month.
This will be the fifth round of strike action from junior doctors over their pay dispute with the government. The walkout will be staged on Aug. 11-15.
The core demand of the association is the restoration of their salary to the level equivalent to what they earned in 2008, reflecting a 35% increase.
Earlier this month, the government declared that it had presented a "final" pay offer to junior doctors, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asserted that further negotiations would not take place.
The UK’s health care system has always had problems, but things have taken a turn for the worse due to the fallout of the Ukraine war, Brexit, and a spiraling cost-of-living crisis, according to multiple reports by unions, universities and think tanks.
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