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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

GMC warns that 60% of EU doctors are considering quitting the country

The GMC chief executive has warned MPs that more than half of NHS doctors from the EU may leave the UK, in a 'worrying' development for the workforce-hit NHS.

Giving evidence to the House of Commons Health Committee today, Charlie Massey said a GMC survey of over 2,000 doctors - around 10% of all doctors from the European Economic Area in the UK - found that staggering numbers were thinking about quitting the NHS.

The figures are even greater than those released by the BMA last week, which found that four-in-10 were thinking of leaving the UK in light of Brexit - on a smaller sample size of 1,000 doctors.

The survey, which only closed only last week, found that some 90% of respondents quoted Brexit as the reason why they were considering leaving.

Results in full

  • 1,280 of 2,106 doctors (60%) said they were considering leaving the UK at some point.
  • Of these, 91% (1,171) said Brexit was a factor in this consideration.
  • 45% of those considering leaving (586 respondents) said they were considering leaving in the next two years, while 24.2% (312) said they were considering leaving in three to five years. 24.9% (320) said they hadn’t considered when they might leave.

Source: GMC survey of 2,115 doctors who identified themselves as EEA nationals holding registration with a licence to practise who are currently practising in the UK (either wholly or partly)

Although Mr Massey warned that the survey was self-selecting and therefore was 'not necessarily going to be predictive of future behaviour’, he said it sent a 'worrying signal'.

Mr Massey added: 'We have also done our own bit of work which only closed at the end of last week, which tends to reinforce some of what the BMA survey said... Actually a slightly higher proportion said they were considering leaving the UK, about 60%... and of those about 90% said that was because of Brexit, so of the 2,000 just over half said they were considering leaving because of Brexit.

'Now, that needs to be treated with a degree of caution. This is a self-selecting group of people who have responded to that survey, what people say is not necessarily going to be predictive of future behaviour. But it does send I think a worrying signal in terms of the stock of doctors currently working in the UK.

'If you look at what people said in their free text comments in our survey basically there were two reasons that came out as being the drivers of that. Firstly, a question of whether or not doctors felt valued and wanted in the NHS and secondly a question of the uncertainty over their continuing and future residence status.'

The news comes as NHS England is defying Brexit and pushing ahead with trying to recruit hundreds of new GPs from the EU with a guaranteed £90,000 salary.

The GP Forward View outlined NHS England’s plan to attract 500 GPs of its 5,000 GP target from overseas.

The £20 million scheme to help ease the GP recruitment crisis will see GPs from EU countries working at practices across the UK from October.

Pulse revealed last summer that Lincolnshire LMC had been working with European medical recruiters to attract GPs to work in the county. GPs from Poland, Romania and Spain have been targeted and 13 GPs have been recruited so far.

This comes despite health secretary Jeremy Hunt's pledge last year for the NHS to start relying on 'homegrown' doctors.

Readers' comments (20)

  • Azeem Majeed

    Andrea Patriarca | Hospital Doctor01 Mar 2017 1:17pm

    My view is that universities and the NHS should engage with government to ameliorate the risks from Brexit, and to gain public support in areas such as the continued recruitment of clinical and scientific staff from the EU. Sadly, our political leaders don't seem willing to address these issues in a timely manner.

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  • In response to 10.40 perhaps I can help you.
    If you choose to stay in the UK you'll have a job security,sickness and holiday pay, a gold plated pension and free education for your kids.I suspect none of this is offered in the 'land of Pavarotti'.
    Life's all about choices i'nt it.
    Sounds to me like you place a higher premium on your personal comfort than the right of the British people to excecise there democratic rights that they have fought for and maintained for 800 and odd years.
    Of course no one knows exactly what will happen,that's why it's called the 'future'.Perhaps you should have written to the EU rather than the GMC,because they also are refusing to clarify anything at this juncture.

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  • uk gps were leaving uk long before brexit .huge number has gone to australia. this is result of increasing work load, reducing income and political interference of changing things every week.

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  • In response to the anonymous 'Horizontally opposed': you may find that every country in Europe has desirable aspects of life. 'Free' healthcare is by and large available in most EU countries, just organised differently. Of course there is holiday and sickness pay and social security in Italy and I hazard a guess that it is no worse than it is here. As to 'free education' - you must be joking! Britain has one of the most divisive education systems in Europe and ask your kids if you have any, if they are looking forward to 60-70K student debt after medical training. In Germany it's free.
    Your insinuation that Andrea prefers her personal comfort to your '800 year fight for your rights' is factually wrong, to put it mildly.

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  • Thanks Hubertus, really appreciated your defense. Actually the national health system problems are the same all over the world. Moreover all our Country fought for their right giving us the best. The main point however is that the Lords just asked to assure the same right as before to all EU citizens. This would be disappointing for someone but it looks wise at least as an initial basis for future agreement with the EU. I'm really sorry for Horizontally opposed thinking, because all the EU citizens were not in UK because they wish to steal UK residents' job but because UK needed us for facing their health system requirements. I just ask for something clear, despite I totally understand that it's a big matter and an unknown path. I'm sorry but saying that the future is future is not enough, because as you all well know we must foresee the risks of our actions, and this is true also from the political point of view.

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  • Just to end the discussion with Horizontally opposed: the system is totally the same also in the "land of Pavarotti", as you called it. I also underline that in Italy, the instruction is totally free of any charge until the university, and also the university have fees that are affordable by almost all the citizens.
    I really don't know how it works in UK, but I suppose that is not as cheap as in Italy.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Couldn't stop the temptation to read George Orwell's 'Notes on Nationalism'' again. What a 'prophet'!
    History certainly rewrites.......rightly or wrongly......

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  • Aunty May's problem is the proverbial arrogance which is going to be her bane. If not putting her cards on the table and holding more than a million EU workers in UK to ransom as a negotiating tool is what she feels will bring her desired results, she can't be more wrong. Does she think EU leaders are cretins? If they dig their heels, it's going to be a bitter exit which is not going to be conducive to the health or economy of UK or the EU? High time these politicians stopped living in the clouds and always considering themselves the bravest, best and infallible. Wake up Aunt, shred your arrogance and listen to the House of Lords who are giving you very sensible advice. Your aggressive approach to EU partners will be reciprocated which does not bode well for all sides. Learn to listen - a PM can have common sense.

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  • Vincenzo Pascale

    There is a main difference between European and UK Doctors. Europe doesn't need UK doctors.

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  • Does EU need Britain?

    Not really as we are already loosing our function as financial capitol of Europe. Ask any bankers from Franfurt/Brussels (or even Paris) and thgey'll tell you they are innundated with quieries on relocating from UK.
    Are we a big manufacturer? No
    Do we have better infrastructure? No - one of the worst road in the europe, internet/power supplies/transport being average at best.
    We do have one of the best Unies outside of USA, probably about the only thing going for us (though usefulness of top education in country's economy is debatable).

    Do we need Europe? Hell yes! It is our biggest exporter and the only reason financial institutation in London have flourished.

    The only reason Europe wanted UK to remain was for financial instution and to keep the membership stable. Now the horse has bolted, no reason for them to keep the friendliness. Haven't you noticed we've been sidelined already? The only leader who is putting us on agenda is derranged Trump.

    So good luck on negotiating hard Brexist Teresa "I ditch my principle to cling onto political power" May. If I was a European leader I'll be negotiating a hard - Britain stands to loose a lot more then Europe!

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