Indian doctors, nurses in demand in Western countries

April 2nd, 2008 - 7:28 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) India ranks top among nations whose physicians are working in major developed countries like Britain and the US, where they form nearly five percent of the total workforce, a Planning Commission report released Wednesday said. Apart from doctors, Indian nurses are also in great demand, according to the report released by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia here.

India has also emerged as a supplier of other healthcare professionals to a number of countries, particularly radiologists, laboratory technicians, dental hygienists, physiotherapists and medical rehabilitation workers, it added.

Quoting a 2004 figure, the report said about 4.9 percent of the doctors in the US and Britain were of Indian origin, while in Australia the figure was four percent.

In Canada, about 2.1 percent of doctors were from India in 2004, said the report.

The Planning Commission had formed a high-level group on the services sector, including health, to comprehensively examine the different aspects influencing the performances of the sectors and to suggest short and long term policies to improve and sustain its competitiveness in the coming years.

“For several decades Indian medical professionals have been serving not only in the Middle East but also in several English speaking developed countries including the US and the UK,” said Anwarul Hoda, member (International Economics) of the Planning Commission, who headed the high-level group.

“About 60,000 physicians were working in four major English speaking countries, constituting up to about five percent of the work force,” he added.

The report said in 2002, about 25,602 nurses got permits to work in Britain, of which 10,424 were from Philippines and 3,392 from India.

“India’s strong position as a supplier of healthcare professionals is notwithstanding the fact that the medical qualifications awarded by Indian institutions are not recognised by the authorities in the developed countries and the professionals have to qualify in examinations held by those authorities,” it said.

In turn, the Indian Medical Council does not recognise medical qualifications awarded by institutions in Western countries.

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