HBI Deals+Insights / News

Europe’s becoming more dependent on foreign-trained medical staff

This week HBI tracks how the proportion of foreign-trained workforces in different European countries has changed over the past decade using OECD data.

The graph charts how dependent different OECD countries are on both foreign-trained nurses and foreign-trained doctors. It looks at data from 2008 and 2017 (the latest complete data sets) and includes medical staff from both the public and private sector combined.

The graph shows that most European countries have increased dependency significantly on foreign-trained doctors since 2008 but only a limited amount on foreign-trained nurses. The OECD data set’s definition of doctors includes consultants, registrars and junior doctors.

Only Switzerland and Ireland have seen significant rises in the proportion of foreign-trained nurses. Latest data from the Irish Nursing and Midwifery Board said that 20% of its nurses in 2018 were UK-trained, 8% from India and 6% from the Philippines.

Go full screen to see more detail.

The OECD’s definition of ‘foreign-trained’ includes those who are born in the country but trained abroad. But native-born and foreign-trained staff do not constitute a significant percentage of the total except in Israel and Greece, where about 23% and 12% respectively (2017) fall into that area. The data does not show how many of the country’s doctors emigrate or where exactly the foreign-trained staff come from.

Only Latvia and Israel have decreased dependency on both doctors and nurses, while the UK has a slightly lower proportion of foreign-trained doctors than a decade ago but slightly higher figure for nurses. The latter is probably caused by Brexit, while Israel’s statistics account for the fact that many go overseas to train because of high competition for limited places in training schools.

Most of the foreign-trained staff are actually trained elsewhere in Europe so the data here will represent some migration within the continent.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Rachel Lewis or call 0207 183 3779.