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Reply to Hidalgo's ‘The active recruitment of health workers: a defence’ article
  1. Carwyn Rhys Hooper
  1. Correspondence to Dr Carwyn Rhys Hooper, Division of Population Health & Education, St George's, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK; hoopercarwyn{at}

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Hidalgo offers a novel and interesting defence of the active recruitment of health workers by organisations based in the developed world.1 His conclusions are highly controversial and run directly counter to those drawn by a large number of bioethicists, empirical researchers and national and international organisations interested in the issue of health worker migration.

The debate about the effects of the migration of healthcare professionals began in earnest in the 1970s. During this decade a number of researchers argued that migration flows from the developing to the developed world were detrimental to poorer countries and suggested that policies ought to be put in place to both retard the flow of migration and compensate countries for the negative effects of any ongoing migration.2 However, some researchers have recently argued that the migration of healthcare workers has many positive effects.3 This is because migration encourages human capital investment, leads to large scale flows of remittances back to source countries, encourages the transfer of knowledge, innovations and best practice, and improves trade relations. Clemens even argues that the net effects of migration are positive—which implies that the so called …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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