India and Pakistan are the two biggest sources of foreign doctors in the United States and the United Kingdom, according to recent reports. This trend has been consistent for the past several years, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
In the United States, foreign-trained doctors make up a significant proportion of the healthcare workforce, with around 25% of physicians being international medical graduates (IMGs). Of these, around 20% are from India, while around 5% are from Pakistan. The majority of these doctors work in underserved areas, where there is a shortage of healthcare providers.
The pervasive presence of South Asian doctors in the United States is confirmed by OECD (Organization for Cooperation and Development) statistics on foreign doctors in OECD member nations. While India has remained the top source of foreign doctors since 2013, Pakistan has moved up from third to second spot in this period. As of 2016, there were 45,830 Indian doctors and 12,454 Pakistani doctors among 215,630 foreign doctors in the United States. India (45,830) and Pakistan (12,454) are followed by Grenada (10,789), Philippines (10,217), Dominica (9,974), Mexico (9,923), Canada (7,765), Dominican Republic (6,269), China (5,772), UAE (4,635) and Egypt (4,379).
In percentage terms, 21% of foreign doctors come from India, 6% from Pakistan, 5% each from Grenada, Philippines and Dominica and 4% from Mexico.
Similarly, in the United Kingdom, around 25% of doctors are IMGs, with around 28% of these being from India, while around 6% are from Pakistan. These doctors play a vital role in the National Health Service (NHS), filling critical gaps in the healthcare system.
Indians and Pakistanis also make up the top two nationalities among 66,211 foreign doctors in the United Kingdom. There are 18,953 doctors from India, 8,026 from Pakistan, 4.880 from Nigeria and 4,471 from Egypt in the UK.
The list of 25,400 foreign doctors in Canada is topped by South Africans (2,604) followed by Indians (2,127), Irish (1,942), British (1,923), Americans (1,263) and Pakistanis (1,087).
There are several reasons why Indian and Pakistani doctors are so sought after in these countries. Firstly, both India and Pakistan have a strong tradition of medical education, with many world-class medical schools. These schools produce a large number of well-trained doctors every year, many of whom are keen to work abroad. Additionally, many of these doctors have excellent English language skills, which makes it easier for them to integrate into Western healthcare systems.
Another reason for the popularity of Indian and Pakistani doctors is the shortage of doctors in many parts of the United States and United Kingdom. In many rural areas, it can be challenging to attract and retain healthcare providers. Foreign doctors are often willing to work in these areas, where they can make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of local communities.
There are also economic factors at play. Salaries for doctors in the United States and United Kingdom are significantly higher than in India and Pakistan, and there are more opportunities for career advancement. Additionally, doctors in these countries enjoy greater job security, better working conditions, and access to advanced medical technology.
Despite the many benefits of having Indian and Pakistani doctors working in the United States and United Kingdom, there are also some challenges. One of the biggest issues is cultural differences. Many foreign doctors struggle to adapt to the different cultural norms and expectations in Western healthcare systems. Additionally, some patients may be hesitant to receive treatment from doctors who do not share their cultural background or speak their language.
Overall, the contributions of Indian and Pakistani doctors to the healthcare systems of the United States and United Kingdom cannot be overstated. These doctors play a vital role in delivering high-quality healthcare to millions of people, particularly in underserved areas. With the ongoing shortage of healthcare providers, it is likely that the demand for foreign doctors will continue to grow in the coming years.