Hiring too Many Foreign Doctors ‘Puts Lives at Risk’: Senior Surgeon Criticises Poor Language Skills and Lack of Training

Daniel Martin
Daily Mail
August 15, 2013

  • Just over half of new doctors each year come from British medical schools
  • Dr J Meirion Thomas said too many foreign doctors had poor language skills
  • He also said many had not received up-to-date training in their country
Dr Daniel Ubani unlawfully killed a 70-year-old man on his first GP locum in the UK.

Patients are being put at risk because no fewer than 40 per cent of doctors taken on by the NHS every year are foreign, a top cancer surgeon has warned.

Dr J Meirion Thomas said far too many of them had poor language skills, knew nothing about our culture and had not received up-to-date training in their own country.

Out of around 13,000 new doctors registered by the General Medical Council every year, just 7,000 come from British medical schools.

Meanwhile the NHS is becoming a ‘bonanza’ for doctors arriving in increasing numbers from Greece, Spain and eastern Europe.

Dr Thomas, a consultant surgeon at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, also hit out at the poor quality of family doctors, saying the only reason A&E departments were at ‘breaking point’ was because many GPs were ‘not good enough’.

Dr Thomas has already exposed failings in the NHS in a series of trenchant articles for the Daily Mail. Earlier this year he raised the alarm over the number of foreign patients being treated for free by the NHS, saying it was costing taxpayers millions of pounds a year.

In an article for The Spectator magazine this week, he called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to scrap expensive NHS IT schemes and spend the billions saved on ‘training more British doctors’.

‘This is an essential building block of a durable recovery,’ he said.

He went on: ‘Most readers will be surprised to learn that every year, we import 40 per cent of our doctors because of insufficient training places in British medical schools.

‘We encourage young people to become doctors, then we slap them back for want of places.

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