Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann
Chapter 4: The international migration of health professionals
International migration by health professionals is an area of increasing policy interest. Shortages of medical personnel in several developed countries are perceived to be central drivers of this phenomenon, and there are critical ramifications for developing countries (for example, the World Health Organization – WHO, 2006). After a period of perceived excess supply in many developed countries during the 1990s, more recent years have seen an increased demand for health professionals, a growing concern about the need to provide healthcare services to aging populations, and an increasing focus on health human resources more generally. The International Migration Outlook (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD, 2007a) identifies ‘several international initiatives . . . formulating policy recommendations to overcome the global health workforce crisis’ (p. 162). In response to these flows, in 2010 the WHO adopted a global code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel with a focus on ethics and protecting less-developed sending countries (WHO, 2010). Aligned with this initiative, several developed countries have devised their own protocols regarding the ethics of international health professional migration (for example, Canadian Federal/Provincial/Territorial ACHDHR, 2009; Norwegian Directorate of Health and Social Affairs, 2007; UK Department of Health, 2011).
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