This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

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)

  • Go the whole hog. Make it a military discipline.
    You get trained you sign on, are deployed to St Elsewhere's or buy yourself out.

    See how many are attracted to medicine.

    I probably would still have done it as I hate dentistry and doing the anal gland thing on dogs turns my stomach; althought law attracts bright people too.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Can't rely on overseas medical graduates because of immigration laws.
    I think this will be a good bet for the conservatives to make sure that Uk medical graduates are not free to escape with out a payment to the Government.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • A lot of hot air - impossible to frame a law that would target just medics. Just noise from an idiotic MP

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Yet more conservative drivel. Cameron has no control over his party. It is weakly disciplied. Further proof that they cannot be trusted.

    -anonymous salaried!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Gaurav Tewary

    UK should then stop importing nurses and Drs from overseas. The taxpayers of those countries also loose out then. Or doesn't the Hon MP care about 3rd world countries?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @2.20pm

    Clueless comment was nice. My comment about Australia paying a transfer fee was a little tongue in cheek but was a compliment. I don't want us to lose our best doctors to another country for nothing.

    Don't be so paranoid. Not everyone hates you.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Don't forget those who drop out of medical school- they should be forced to work as HCAs until their debt to society is paid off.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • if the government will repay me for the countless lives I've saved, let's say £1million / life, then yes I'll repay my training costs.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @5:13pm
    Actually the last ConDem government (with David Willetts at the helm) removed all teaching grants for humanities degrees. The humanities got 100% cuts. Whereas STEM degrees including medicine retained their subsidies. Please check the facts (try the THES) yourself.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • And dentists?? They're doing a lot of NHS work aren't they? Dumb.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say