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German GPs flock to the UK

German GPs are vowing to ditch their homeland and come to work in the UK in search of better pay.

More than 30,000 doctors took to the streets of Berlin, Munich and Saarbrücken last week in protest at funding shortages and low pay. Up to a third of German practices are facing bankruptcy as expenses outstrip earnings growth. Many German GPs already supplement their incomes by regularly commuting to the UK to cover out-of-hours shifts.

Hans Freese, spokesman for the Bundesarztekammer (Federal Medical Association) said German GPs faced a dilemma between the financial collapse of their practice and maintaining patient care. He said: 'Future prospects are grim. The days when opening a practice automatically led to prosperity are long past.'

Dr Tobias Keyser, a Marburg-born GP now practising in Liverpool, said he came to the UK in the 1990s after practices were stripped of their right to hold a patient list. He added: 'It doesn't make sense for me to go back. My brother is a surgeon there and his working conditions are appalling.'

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