Migration and the Globalisation of Health Care

Migration and the Globalisation of Health Care

The Health Worker Exodus?

John Connell

The international migration of health workers has been described by Nelson Mandela as the ‘poaching’ of desperately needed skills from under-privileged regions. This book examines the controversial recent history of skilled migration, and explores the economic and cultural rationale behind this rise of a complex global market in qualified migrants and its multifaceted outcomes.

Epigraphs

John Connell

Subjects: development studies, migration, economics and finance, health policy and economics, public sector economics, geography, human geography, politics and public policy, migration, public policy, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics, migration, urban and regional studies, migration

Extract

When Petra Kalivodova, a 31-year old nurse, was considering whether to renew her contract at a private clinic [in Prague] special perks helped clinch the deal: free German lessons, five weeks of vacation, and a range of plastic surgery options, including silicone-enhanced breasts. ‘I would rather have plastic surgery than a free car’ said Ms. Kalivodova, who opted for cosmetic breast surgery that would normally cost about $3,500 as well as liposuction on her thighs and stomach. These were physical enhancements, she said, which she could not afford on her $1400 a month salary. ‘We were always taught that if a nurse is nice, intelligent, loves her work and looks attractive, then patients will recover faster’. Critics lament the plastic surgery inducement, saying it is the most drastic sign of an acute nursing shortage that health officials say is undermining the Czech health care system. In the past year alone nearly 1200 nurses have migrated to countries like Germany or Britain in search of better wages. Health analysts estimate that this has contributed to a shortage of 5000 nurses in an already overstretched public sector. The nursing shortage is part of a worrying global trend that doctors and nurses say is hurting patient care and potentially risking lives. (Bilefsky 2009, p. 12) Dr Piotr Robinski’s second life begins every other Friday at 4am. He has got a very long day ahead. Having worked from Monday to Thursday in his Polish surgery, he is already tired. Six hours later, after...