Doctors warn of medical staff shortage and have serious concerns about the future of the NHS. At the same time, the student debt keeps on rising and has caused a national debate once again. According to medical professionals across the UK, this crisis is rapidly escalating, as the government is failing to recruit new doctors when old ones retire.

Meanwhile, the UK, is no longer a destination for many students and workers. According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the number of nurses coming from abroad fell by 95%, from 1304 last year, to a bare 46 in April this year, worsening the already existing shortage of staff.

As access to education is growing with countries such as South Korea quickly overtaking Europe in the amount of University graduates, flexible and profound education that uses e-learning combining with experience of studying abroad, is now becoming a growing trend.

Training of medical personnel through these methods are now being discussed as an alternative way of gaining the same knowledge as provided by a traditional campus experience.

This growing trend has been adopted by an increased number of students and is becoming mainstream, as hundreds thousands of young applicants choose an alternative education, according to ESMO (European Society of Medical Oncology).

According to Prof. Giuseppe Arnone, this helps students to bypass the rising tuition fees while experiencing of a new language and culture. Some students also see it as a way to kick-start their career, while getting the experience of surviving in a new environment and learning a new language.

Dr. Radna Nori, who gained her qualification in Romania and now works in Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, agrees with this statement. She says that getting her qualification outside of her native country helped her in her career.

“Along with my medical degree, I also learned a new language and culture. This is a great help when you’re dealing with patients. We live work in an international environment, so when you know your patients’ culture and can speak their language, you are better at communicating with them. In the end, you do a better job.”

Shortage of University places for medical students often leave many waiting for years before starting their studies, something that Dr. Nori says she was able to bypass by adopting a new education method.

“It allowed me to start my career straight away. When I was off from my studies, I would come back and work in care. This helped me get experience and connections, and that’s how I got my first job after I finished my degree.”, says Dr. Nori.

Applying these new educational methods helps students into work while increasing the supply of qualified staff to medical institutions, according to Prof.  Arnone,

“By going abroad and applying e-learning, students are able to get a high quality education for a fraction of the tuition fees back home and are not burdened by the debt of a student loan”, says Arnone.

The UK might be known as a destination for foreign students and studying abroad is often seen as a luxury experience for many Britons. But with the increase in tuition fees back home and a fast growing e-learning sector, it may be a solution to help solve the NHS staff shortage.

Yelena Kensborn