Trusts should be encouraged to take on more health workers from developing countries by paying them extra cash, a Tory MP has argued.
Speaking at a Conservative Party conference fringe event, Jeremy Lefroy said the white paper set out the principle that employers should take greater responsibility for the health workforce.
Encouraging greater migration would help boost the skills of health professionals hailing from the third world, equipping them with techniques they could take back to their home countries. It would also help to fill staffing gaps in the NHS, Mr Lefroy said.
He said: “There’s a very strong argument to be made that [trusts that] take on people trained oversees, particularly from developing countries… should be compensated by the health service here.”
Mr Lefroy runs a charity, Equity for Africa, and formerly lived in Tanzania, where his GP wife ran a public health education programme.
However, University of Sussex Professor Ronald Skeldon said many health workers, such as doctors, do not return to their home countries after working in Western hospitals, meaning the health systems in developing countries suffered when skilled staff left for the UK.
He argued against the planned immigration cap and said Britain should fund training opportunities in developing countries to encourage some health workers to stay at home and help local populations.