Friday, May 27, 2005
Nurses From AbroadI was reading something the other day about the influx of nurses trained in other parts of the world, particularly Africa, where in some countries education of doctors and nurses is completely funded by the government. Some African countries are paying to create nurses and doctors, only to have them leave and take their skills to the US or UK.
African hospitals are overflowing with patients, yet they cannot hope to offer medical staff the pay that can be made by coming here. I found another story about the situation in the UK:
"[the] report focused on Ghana, where the flow of nurses to the UK has soared tenfold in the past six years and the number of doctors has doubled. The Korle Bu teaching hospital in Accra is 1,000 short of the 2,000 nurses it needs, and 60 per cent of the babies in its intensive care unit suffered asphyxia at birth because their mothers were not properly monitored during labour, owing to the shortage of staff.
The director of the hospital, Professor Kawabena Frimpong-Boateng, described the staff shortage as "devastating" and appealed to the UK and the US to show restraint, by restricting their recruitment to medical staff who had already served at least five years in Ghana. "We don't think we should be paying for the training of doctors and nurses to work in the UK," he said.
The findings were backed by a study in The Lancet that said half of the 16,000 extra staff hired by the NHS in recent years had come from overseas, with damaging effects on health services in sub-Saharan Africa.
Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: "It is appalling that, as one of the richest nations in the world, we are draining developing countries of their doctors and nurses. Overseas staff have a valued place in the NHS but must not be exploited to cover up the failure to recruit and retain home-grown doctors and nurses."
Why does it seem easier to import nurses than to support the training of them here? The nursing shortage is fueled by the fact that there are not enough spots for students to get into nursing programs. There are not enough instructors or programs.
Just as you sacrifice quality by getting the frozen pie rather than making it yourself, going the easy route and letting doctors and nurses immigrate (and even actively recruiting them) to the US rather than supporting programs here is going to hurt US healthcare and completely devastate the healthcare systems in developing nations.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 10:57 PM