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Gold, incentives and meh

GPs should pay off costs of medical training before moving abroad, says MP

GPs should be obliged to work in the NHS for a period of time after training, or pay off their training costs before moving abroad to work, an MP has claimed.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph today, Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling, suggests introducing a ‘return of service’ obligation for medical staff, similar to that of army personnel.

Pulse reported earlier this year that 800 GPs are applying for work abroad each year.

Mr Tugendhat, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, says it is ‘time for us to require those trained at the British people’s expense to work a number of years in the NHS before working abroad’.

The MP claims that it costs £500,000 to train a GP, and these costs ‘aren’t remotely covered by the tuition fees they pay as undergraduates’.

He adds: ‘We spend £5bn a year on training new medical personnel. Yet an increasing amount of that money is going overseas. Every year some 5,000 doctors leave the UK. The most popular destinations are Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

‘These are wealthy countries benefiting from British taxpayers’ expenditure. It is hard to argue this is the best use of resources when our own population is ageing and in need of greater investment in medical services.’

Mr Tugendhat likens this to the Armed Forces’ ‘return of service’ commitment, which sees fighter pilots, for example, having to serve 12 years in the RAF before joining the commercial sector.

It comes after media reports that there were almost 1,700 applications to the GMC for Certificates of Current Professional Status (CCPS), which allow doctors to work abroad, within just three weeks of the announcement of the junior doctor contract imposition.  

However, Pulse can reveal that much of this surge came following a campaign by the GP Survival group for doctors to apply for the certificates to send a message to the Department of Health.

Readers' comments (43)

  • Electronic tagging of young doctors is the obvious solution.

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  • Vinci Ho

    You see
    This will set up the next argument which is to mass produce GP alternatives ( we all know what they are) .As I said , the government will set up its universal soldiers for NHS: obedient , robotic and cause much less money........

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  • Vinci Ho

    Bottom line is why should people work for bullies while jobs in other countries offer respect to these young colleagues?
    Treat people better , only then you get your reward and return. I suppose I cannot expect these dispicable politicians to understand .....

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  • Fortunately medical indemnity will and is starting to prevent the alternatives being a viable option.

    Those with phone triage are seeing complaints rocket, and medical solicitors are starting to focus on ANP /PA based consults

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  • Why are doctors singled out? Surely this is discriminatory as they are not proposing an English degree graduate who chooses to teach English in forign country are not forced to pay money back.

    Tom Tugendhat MP should be reported for his discriminatory remarks

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  • @1:26

    The government provides no subsidy for humanities degrees (ie. English degrees) - the cost is borne by the English graduate who pays £9,000 a year.

    Whereas the government provides a large subsidy towards the "real cost" of each year of medical school.

    International students wanting to study medicine in the UK have to pay between £30,000 - £36,000 a year for each year of medical school. UK students don't pay this amount as they receive a subsidy from the taxpayer.

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  • I suggest a transfer fee system like in football. Would Australia want you if they had to pay for you?!

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  • 1.54
    Do you actually think that £30-36,000 is the actual/real cost per year? Or it includes money to help the university further (aka subsidizing home grown students).
    Even if that is the case - 36 x 5 years is nowhere near £500k quoted. A figure plucked from thin air. Allowing for 5 years post graduate still doesn't add up as they work and train on the job.
    Even if that is the case, NHS 'imports' more than it 'exports' so there is a trade deficit. Are you willing to pay?
    Even if that is the case, that will not fill the empty posts for GP trainees as GP land is not a good place to be at the moment.

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  • "We spend £5bn a year on training new medical personnel. Yet an increasing amount of that money is going overseas. Every year some 5,000 doctors leave the UK. The most popular destinations are Australia, Canada and New Zealand."

    Hear hear.

    We could handcuff them to the country, OR, and I'm just throwing it out there, we could incentivise people to actually stay in this country by improving working conditions.

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  • @ 2pm

    Or, how about building a Berlin Wall. That worked a treat. Clueless.

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