Employment of foreign medics
Thursday, 31 July 2008

Interest of local ones be given priority

Appointment of foreign doctors and nurses in the private hospitals and clinics of Bangladesh has recently drawn attention of the government. With a view to controlling and streamlining such appointments, the ministry of health has almost finalized a set of guidelines to this effect. When approved, the foreign doctors and nurses would have to take registration from the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council and the Directorate of Nursing respectively for being employed in any local private health facility in the country. Besides, special care would be taken to keep the areas where there are sufficient specialized and trained local doctors and nurses. The number of foreign doctors and nurses in large private hospitals has been on the rise in recent years in the absence of any appropriate authority or necessary rules to oversee and regulate their activities. Some hospitals reportedly had sought permission from the BMDC for appointing some foreign physicians. But the Council expressed its inability to grant such permission since it was not legally empowered to do so. However, the hospitals concerned taking advantage of the situation appointed those doctors to work in their facilities. There are other issues, including work permits and realization of tax from the salary and allowances, involved in the appointment of foreign doctors and nurses. Besides, disciplinary action against physicians and doctors concerned by the BMDC in case of their failure to carry out their professional responsibilities with due honesty and integrity is also an important issue. The BMDC has the power to cancel registration of any Bangladeshi doctor if he or she is found guilty of professional misconduct .But the BMDC or the nursing directorate can do nothing against foreign doctors and nurses if they are found involved in any wrongdoing. In a globalized world, the movement of service providers from one country to another is a common phenomenon and any attempt to bar foreign doctors and nurses from having employment in Bangladesh health facilities would be foolhardy at this stage. Since the local hospitals and clinics are deficient in many disciplines, they would require, from time to time, the help of foreign specialist physicians. But there should be necessary guidelines to oversee and control their employment and make them accountable for their work to the local authorities concerned. Protecting the interest of the local physicians and nurses should also get priority in the guidelines mentioned above.

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