UK to hire 400 doctors from India to tackle shortage

The UK is hiring at least 400 doctors from India to address the shortfall in the number of medical practitioners in the country and meet a UK government pledge of recruiting 5,000 doctors by 2020.

The Health Education England (HEE) had signed a memorandum of understanding with India's leading hospital chain, Apollo Hospitals, which would involve the "mutual exchange of clinical staff," the Pulse reported.

The new agreement is said to have been signed due to the acute shortage of medical staff in the UK. The situation worsened after many UK-trained doctors chose to leave the country.

According to the HEE, England and India had signed an MoU as a starting point to explore how both countries could benefit from the mutual exchange of ideas.

The Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals currently has a workforce of 40,000 people and a turnover of over £500 million. The Times of India reported that Apollo Hospitals currently offered a diploma in family medicine that was accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Following initial discussion, Apollo Hospitals said it looked forward to announce the outcome of the initiative over the course of the next few months and years.

However, medical professionals in England had warned of chaos if the overseas medical practitioners were recruited in the health services without proper prior training.

According to Apollo Hospitals, it signed the memorandum as a "starting point" to explore how both countries could benefit from "the mutual exchange of ideas and clinical staff in improving the education and training of healthcare staff" and patient care.

"These are initial discussions but we look forward to announcing the outcomes of this work over the coming months and years as it progresses," the Times reported.