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The NHS International Fellowship Scheme in Psychiatry Reply to Khan

  • David Goldberg (a1)
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Abstract
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Khan, M. M. (2004) The NHS International Fellowship Scheme in Psychiatry: robbing the poor to pay the rich? Psychiatric Bulletin, 28, 435437.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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The NHS International Fellowship Scheme in Psychiatry Reply to Khan

  • David Goldberg (a1)
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eLetters

Truths and half-truths

Tharayil Suresh, Psychiatrist
14 December 2004

Dear EditorI found the article by David Goldberg [The NHS International Fellowship Scheme-Reply to KhanPsychiatric Bulletin(2004), 28, 433-434] as a mixture of truths(T) and half-truths(HT). Some examples:

“We are facing a severe staffing shortage” = (T)

"India overproduces doctors, who cannot all find consultant positionsin their own country" + "we are concerned to protect the health care systems of developing countries" = (HT) Evidently, docs recruited were not the ones who were struggling to find Consultant positions in India. Weshould have recruited unemployed consultants (and if needed fast tracked them) rather than targeting experience and expertise.

"We have not recruited……in Pakistan" + " of the 124 psychiatrists whohave been appointed so far only 6 are from Pakistan" = (HT) Does not add up.

"…doctors from outside the European Community to pass the Inter national English Language test - but this is in fact the lowest of the four hurdles they must pass" = (HT)Linguistic skills are important in thespecialty, even though IELTS may not be the best tool to measure that skill

"doctors are scrutinised by the same kinds of appointments committee faced by other consultants who live in the UK" = (T) But experienced middle grade docs, some with a post graduate qualification were(are) denied this opportunity to face an appointment panel.

"no rules are being bent" = (T)- But they were broken!

Dr T SureshLocum Consultant Psychiatrist- LDForth Valley Primary Care Operational DivisionLarbertFK5 4SD

Conflict of Interest- My application for entry to the Specialist Register under the transitional arrangements was turned down by the STA onthe recommendation of the College, totally ignoring my consultant level experience (both in India and in the UK) and the post-graduate qualification obtained from the Leeds University.
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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The International Fellowship Scheme in Psychiatry

Murad M Khan, Professor of Psychiatry
14 December 2004

David Goldberg writes that the NHS is not recruiting in Pakistan (Goldberg, 2004), yet in the recently held World Psychiatric Association Regional conference in Lahore, Pakistan in September 2004 and attended by many senior members of the College including the President and Dean, the NHS set up a recruitment stall. Similarly, NHS consultants have held recruitment seminars in local hotels.

The NHS claim the Scheme is for 2-years only, yet a consultant from my department, recruited on the Scheme, received a 5-year multiple entry visa from the Home Office. Psychiatrists recruited on the scheme are underno obligation to return home at the end of the two year period. No bond has been signed, no undertaking has been taken and people have resigned their posts. The entry level being as a consultant, it is unlikely many would return. The loss to the country's already fragile mental health system would therefore be permanent.

In Pakistan, the Scheme is increasingly viewed as Western dominance on yet another aspect of our existence. With little or no understanding ofhow precarious things are in mental health in Pakistan, the Schemes’ supporters appear to have no qualms in draining a vital source of the country’s small pool of psychiatrists. In particular they fail to understand that a developing country can only afford to lose some of its trained professionals once a critical mass of such people is reached. Sadly with a psychiatrist-population ratio of 1 psychiatrist to a million people, Pakistan is light years from achieving this.

ReferenceGoldberg D. The NHS International Fellowship Scheme in Psychiatry: Reply to Khan. Psychiatr Bull 2004; 28: 433-434
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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