Health-worker migration and migrant health-care: seeking cosmopolitanism in the NHS

Shahvisi, Arianne (2018) Health-worker migration and migrant health-care: seeking cosmopolitanism in the NHS. Bioethics, 32 (6). pp. 334-342. ISSN 1467-8519

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The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is critically reliant on staff from overseas, which means that a sizeable number of UK healthcare professionals have received their training at the cost of other states which are themselves urgently in need of healthcare professionals. At the same time, while healthcare is widely seen as a primary good, many migrants are unable to access the NHS without charge, and anti-immigration political trends are likely to further reduce that access. Both of these topics have received close attention in the global health ethics literature. In this paper I make the novel move of suggesting that these two seemingly disparate issues should be folded into the same moral narrative. The “brain drain” upon which the NHS and its users depend derives from the same gradient of wealth, security, and opportunity that produces migrants who require the NHS. I endorse cosmopolitanism as an ethical lens for supporting access to healthcare for migrants, and argue that the NHS in its current formulation effectively enacts a partial cosmopolitanism in its reliance on medical workers from abroad, but could more meaningfully instantiate that cosmopolitanism were it to offer the same healthcare to migrants as it does to citizens.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Depositing User: Arianne Shahvisi
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2017 09:56
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2021 09:52

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