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British temporary employment agencies specialised in the medical sector are beginning to anger foreign health services due to their poaching of doctors in order to supply the British National Health Service (NHS) with doctors who are willing to work unsociable hours.
Rui Guimaraes, President of the National Medical Council of Portugal told Diario de Noticias, "the British pay a doctor who works in Accidents and Emergencies (A&E) between 6,750 Euro and 7,900 Euro per month for a 35 hour a week. In Portugal the same doctor earns 1,800 Euro per month. You can see where the attraction lies."
Andrew Marks of recruitment agency GlobalMediRec says, "we have thought of recruiting in Portugal before but we were looking for the right place to advertise. Eventually, we found the website of the Portuguese Medical Association. Portugal has a good reputation and doctors from EU countries do not need to do tests in order to practise in the UK."
In Latvia, the situation appears to be much worse than in Portugal, the Daily Mail reports. Professor Andreis Erglis, head of the Latvian Cardiology Centre said, "they are buying doctors and nurses literally in bulk. They are ripping the heart out of our health service. Latvia spent millions on giving doctors very high quality training and now they are being hunted away from us."
Recruitment specialists ID-Medical said that they have 80 Latvian doctors undergoing training with a view to switching to hospitals in England. ID-Medical also recruits doctors in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland and is planning a drive this month in Estonia and Lithuania.