September 6, 2019

The excessive migration of health professionals

Recent Trends in International Migration of Doctors, Nurses and Medical Students

Among the 18 OECD countries for which data are available from 2010/11 to 2015/16, the number on foreign-born doctors rose by over 20%, a much higher growth rate than the overall increase of 10%. As a result, the proportion of foreign-born doctors across these OECD countries rose by 3 percentage points to 27% in 2016. The trend for nurses is similar, with the number of foreign-born nurses increasing by 20% while the overall increase was about 10%, so their share increased by 1.5 percentage points to 16%.
Of all doctors working in 26 OECD countries in 2016, 16% (about 483 000) obtained at least their first medical degree in another country, up from 14.5% (about 424 000) in 2011. The share and number of foreign-trained nurses have also risen to 7% (about 546 000) of all nurses working in 25 OECD countries in 2016, up from 6.6% (about 461 000) in 2011.
There is something wrong. A deficit of 20% of physicians supply that has to be solved by foreign professionals means that nobody is planning future demand. This is a big mistake, a result of political inaction.