Number of physicians in the US: 794,893
Number of foreign graduate physicians in the US: 185,234 (from 127 countries)
Percentage of foreign physicians in US training programs: 24%
This is not a new phenomenon. Foreign physicians have made up this percentage of the US physician population for decades.
The above information comes from Greg Siskind's Blog:
Over the years, one of the areas in which my practice has grown the most involves physician immigration. I've written a book on the subject (LexisNexis' J-1 Visa Guidebook) and chair the FMG Taskforce, the national coalition of physician immigration lawyers. And I count many of my physician clients as close friends. [snip]
... Perhaps you have heard about the wider physician shortage in the US? It is expected to grow to as much as 150,000 by 2020, a pretty large number when you compare it to the total number of doctors now in practice. [snip]
I think its also worth mentioning that one of the reasons we probably have not heard about any links of US physicians to terrorism is because of the extensive background and security testing all skilled workers, including doctors, undergo before being admitted to the US. I understand that in the UK, security clearances for skilled workers was not as extensive. This could be another example of where the US has done a decent job and we're not hearing about it. [snip]
Have we made it so difficult, or so expensive, to get into medical schools, that we cannot get enough Americans trained? Surely there are enough Americans who are qualified and smart enough to fill our medical positions. Do we need more medical schools? What? Mr. Siskind is probably correct, we have better immigration and background checks than the UK and we should feel safe that these foreign doctors have no terrorist ambitions. But we need to always be aware of the possbilities.
Ten years ago in one county in the United States, of some 250 doctors in that hospital's department of medicine, 90 percent are newly arrived in the U.S. from places like India, the Philippines, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, or Poland. Many of these have their medical training paid for by U.S. taxpayers. At one point figures indicated that foreign doctors accounted for "more than three-quarters of the interns and residents in a dozen New York hospitals."
I think most Americans are not aware that taxpayer dollars train after medical school doctors that are not citizens of the United States, have not signed an obligation to spend some time in the United States, and could essentially finish their residencies, and go back to another country, having that residency paid for by taxpayers. (source)
Medically under-served areas like North Dakota and urban centers like Chicago have become something of a niche for foreign-born physicians over the years. They are areas shunned by most U.S. graduates for perceived lack of cultural amenities, also because they involve general or primary care medicine in an age when U.S. graduates have been attracted by the high technology and higher salaries of specialties like surgery or radiology. (more)
Indian doctors fear they may be unfairly targeted by the British government, since two of the eight London/Scotland terrorists were Indian doctors.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown subsequently ordered a review of recruitment to the country's state-run health service, where nearly 40 percent of registered doctors are foreign trained. Indians account for the largest share of these recruits. (source)
In Australia it's estimated up to 5,000 foreign doctors are working there, that's 10 per cent of the workforce.
The AMA says there are robust checks to screen overseas doctors, although it says a review of the process would be useful.
And according to the President of the Australian Medical Association Dr Rosanna Capolingua the doctors are closely screened before coming here. (PM)
It's "logical to watch anything that happens in the UK as a potential precursor to future threats against U.S.," says Thomas P.M. Barnett and I agree with him completely. We need to always be on watch, ever evaluating our procedures, watching what the terrorists are saying in 'chatter', on websites, and in videos.
Canon Andrew White, a senior Anglican priest who works in Baghdad, was talking to an al-Qaeda leader, and he was told “Those who cure you are going to kill you.”
... he met the man privately with a translator and sheik after holding talks with Sunni Muslim tribal and religious leaders April 18 in the Jordanian capital, Amman. He meets regularly with extremists in an attempt to calm Iraq’s sectarian violence.
He said religious leaders told him the man was an al-Qaida leader who traveled from Syria to the meeting. The man, an educated Iraqi in his 40s and dressed in Western clothes, warned of attacks on Britain and the United States, White said.
“It was like meeting the devil,”(source)
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there will be increased scrutiny of foreigners recruited for their skills, including doctors coming to work for the National Health Service.
Before September 11, 2001, the 'chatter' mentioned boxcutters. Today the chatter is talking about 'hand grenades' going off in places like New York. I think suicide bombers, or IED's, grenades, are probably more likely than terrorist doctors in the United States.