Chapter 4: Spanish doctors in the United Kingdom
There are a lot of people waiting for jobs and you lose contacts, you lose your contract, the hospital, everything. There are very few possibilities in Spain, so if you go away, you haven’t any real opportunities to go back to Spain again. (Spanish male doctor, 5 November 2003) The social factors that affect the movement of professionals in the European Union and the reliance on medical recruitment schemes to fill gaps in the British National Health Service (NHS) are explored in this chapter. The field research was initially conducted during summer and autumn 2003 (and subsequently supplemented by means of further desk research). The aim was to gather information based on the experiences and motivations of Spanish professionals who were employed or who were seeking employment within the NHS. This research took place during a period of active recruitment by the Department of Health and access to informants was largely subject to NHS channels. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were held with practising doctors from Spain who identified as general practitioners (GPs) and sometimes former hospital specialists (also known as ‘specialty and associate specialist’ (SAS) doctors) in Madrid, London and County Durham (n = 12); interviews were also conducted with NHS managers and recruiters (n = 10). Further interviews were held with doctors licensed in other EU states, including one doctor from Germany and another from Italy.
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