NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

PLOT PUTS UK HEALTH SERVICE UNDER A CLOUD

July 5, 2007

The first rule for physicians is "do no harm." But the old principle may not survive the age of global terrorism now that all eight suspects in the failed London and Glasgow terror attacks have been linked to the medical profession, says the Houston Chronicle.

The revelation has raised fears about the integrity of the National Health Service, the British government's public health system, which has provided free medical care for Britons since 1948:

  • Of the 277,000 physicians registered to practice in Britain, nearly 40 percent got their medical training abroad.
  • A shortage of physicians in recent years has made Britain more open to thousands of foreign-trained doctors.

Prospective doctors trained in countries outside the European Union are checked for clinical and linguistic skills, but their political and religious views and possible affiliations with radical groups are not scrutinized, officials said.

To do so would infringe on their rights, according to the officials.

  • Figures from the General Medical Council, which registers foreign doctors to practice in Britain, show that thousands have been admitted from countries where Al Qaeda networks are known to operate.
  • The list shows, for example, that 1,985 physicians trained in Iraq are on the foreign doctors registry here, along with 6,634 trained in Pakistan and 184 schooled in Jordan.

Source: Gregory Katz, "Plot puts UK health service under a cloud; 8 held in failed attacks worked for a system that has grown dependent on foreign doctors," Houston Chronicle, July 4, 2007.

 

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