Unless NHS starts to improve its own monitoring of recruitment from developing countries, proposals to cut poaching will fail, says The King's Fund

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The King's Fund welcomes today's proposals from health minister John Hutton to curb the poaching of healthcare staff from developing countries but calls for improved monitoring to ensure the government's code of practice for international recruitment has impact.

The King's Fund head of workforce research Pippa Gough said:

'We strongly support proposals for the private sector and the NHS to work in partnership to reduce 'back door' recruitment into the NHS from countries on the banned list. However, the problem remains that the NHS cannot monitor the effectiveness of its code because it does not record how many international health workers it employs.'

She added that: 'The UK has benefited considerably from overseas health workers which has helped it improve services. It would be good to see an increasing emphasis on the existing reciprocal arrangements that allow UK health workers to contribute their much needed skills to developing countries.'

Recent research from The King's Fund reveals the high level of dependence on international recruits in London, with one in four nurses from a sample London trust trained overseas. These recruits will move on to jobs in other countries if we do not offer them the opportunities they are looking for.

Notes to editors

1. For further information or interviews, please contact Beverley Cohen at The King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2632 or 07774 218439

2. The King's Fund recently published London Calling? The international recruitment of health workers to the capital. This will be followed up in spring 2005 by a report based on 1,000 interviews with nurses recruited from overseas and now based in London.

3. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.