Foreign doctors to be interviewed via internet

HEALTH chiefs hoping to entice foreign doctors to Suffolk are planning to carry out interviews over the internet in a bid to save cash.

Next month West Suffolk Hospital will be interviewing a number of candidates based in Dubai for vacancies in the accident and emergency department.

But rather than travel 3,500 miles out to the Gulf emirate to carry out intervies in the flesh, the appointments panel will sit behind a bank of computer screens in Bury St Edmunds.

They will carry out their interviews for the four middle grade doctor posts using internet-based video conferencing.

West Suffolk bosses say the national shortage of homegrown doctors has left hospitals around the UK with recruitment problems and has forced them to seek candidates overseas as a result.

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Jan Bloomfield, director of workforce and communications at West Suffolk, said: “Like many other hospitals across the country, we are finding it increasingly difficult to get the right calibre of candidate in the UK or Europe and are having to look further afield instead.

“But rather than send a panel abroad to complete the interviews, we’ve decided to use video technology instead. “As well as being an extremely cost-effective solution, we will still get all the benefits which interviewing shortlisted candidates face-to-face brings, such as an insight into their personality through their body language and mannerisms.

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“Once in post, the doctors will help to enhance the decision making process in accident and emergency so that patients can be seen and treated more quickly, in turn improving the experience which everyone has while using the hospital.

“As well as giving us extra continuity, appointing permanent staff will also help save money in the long term as we will be able to use fewer locums.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to work across the hospital, and our recruitment processes are no different. We are hopeful that the interviews held using video conferencing will be successful and something we can repeat in the future.”

The accident and emergency positions available include both new posts and vacancies left by departing staff.

Any doctors appointed following the interviews, which take place on Monday 4 October, will need to register with the General Medical Council before beginning work at the Suffolk hospital.

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