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Independents' Day

GPs from EU 'rethinking' move to UK because of Brexit, recruiter warns

Brexit has meant that a 'growing' number of GPs from the EU are 'rethinking' coming to work in the UK, a recruitment agency has warned.

Head Medical, the largest UK-based international firm specialising in doctors, has said that overseas doctors are deciding not to work in the UK since the country voted to leave the EU, with an increase in the number of EU doctors ‘rethinking their plans’ to come to the UK.

One GP from France cancelled a move to Scotland, having been ready to take up a job, and is now planning a move to the Republic of Ireland instead where he and his wife 'can feel more confident about our future'.

The GP, who did not want to be named, said: ‘After the Brexit vote I had to seriously rethink my plans about working in the UK.'

He said that 'day after day' he heard 'pretty annoying and negative things about the Brexit' but that the 'final straw' had been 'Theresa May’s comments about her immigration proposals for EU citizens and foreign doctors'.

He said: 'After 10 years of studying to learn medicine and lots of hard work I don't want to feel uncomfortable working in the UK, thinking all the time of when will they replace me with a UK doctor.

‘I have worked too hard and invested a lot of effort at my own expense to come to the UK only to find out the country clearly doesn't want me. It is especially sad because I have always thought of the UK as one of the most welcoming places ever.'

The GP said that the 'current UK situation prevents me from being able to take up a post there', but he added: 'However, if Scotland decides to become independent I will gladly reconsider my decision.’

Jo Hood, head of UK recruitment for Head Medical, said the agency has 'always had a steady stream of doctors who want to come to the UK to work', including many European GPs, but now the 'mood among some is changing'.

She said: 'The UK is facing a major doctor shortage because we don’t train enough and large numbers are nearing retirement or giving up. Our health service depends on attracting overseas staff. But if they don’t feel welcome or are worried about their future as EU citizens in a post-Brexit Britain some will question whether they are still willing to come and work here.

'The number of EU medical professionals rethinking their plans to come to UK is still small compared to the number of doctors we deal with but it is growing.’

What does Brexit mean for general practice?

The news comes as GPs and other health sector leaders have come together to seek certainty for EU nationals working in the NHS who are worried what Brexit may mean for their future career in the UK.

Although health secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged for the NHS to become more reliant on 'homegrown' doctors, the NHS remains heavily reliant on workers from abroad.

And NHS England is set to push ahead with its plan to recruit hundreds of GPs from Europe, despite Mr Hunt's pledge.

Pulse revealed in June that Lincolnshire LMC had been working with European medical recruiters to attract GPs to work in the county, and the GP Forward View outlined NHS England’s plan to attract 500 GPs of its 5,000 GP target from overseas.

Aside from the recruitment aspect, GP leaders have also warned GP practices to 'brace themselves' for Brexit because of the financial impact it could have on small businesses.


Readers' comments (23)

  • Seriously? People believe this?

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  • After recent events - permission to be openly Xenophobic appears to have been granted.

    I work in a very 'conservative' area and thought it to be relatively tolerant but have witnessed worrying events.

    A patient was called in by the electronic system announcing her foreign sounding name in the waiting room and on walking through to the consulting room was subjected to insults.

    This was the partner of a longstanding hospital consultant in the area and themself having worked as a district nurse in the area for 20+ years and was understandably aghast and upset.

    Another example was an apparently well educated and well-off patient specifically expecting me to make a referral to only 'British' doctors - what's wrong with the others I asked - 'well you know what I mean' was the reply.

    Not sure we can avoid announcing or displaying patients names in the waiting rooms of 'Great Britain' but maybe if your name is a bit foreign looking/sounding you could adopt and alias or use an email username -

    'Snottyjohn32' to consulting room 3 please'

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  • I think in the context of the article it is doctors in surgeries and clinics who may need to have an unprovocative 'username'.

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  • In the long run it is better that they don"t come and force their hand to improve the job.

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  • Oh dear.The little people have dared to have an opinion that the Lear jet liberals disagree with.Such was the arrogance that did for Cameron and Clinton.You may, like me, disagree with opinions expressed by Trump or Farage,but if you fail to comprehend the context for why the millions voted as they did,you will deserve to suffer the consequences.

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  • I came into the country 10 years ago and the first thing I did was to shave my moustache so I didn't have that gaping foreign look:). I had been on a walk with my African colleague in my first week in Lincolnshire and a car stopped with a volley of abuse addressed to my colleague who was badly shaken. I calmed him down but decided not to stand out of the crowd. The undertone has always been there and one would want to think that it is only amongst the ill educated, unfortunately, racism is something people take from their culture at home or suck with their mother's milk. You have just got to avoid it and may mean that you have to leave the country. The bright side is that these incidents are just incidental though exceptions confirm the rule.

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  • Brexit will see not just workforce decimation but also a fall in GDP and consequently a fall in revenues and then a fall in funding. Less staff, less money, less healthcare.

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  • What a load of cobblers. Anecdotal clap trap. I doubt the folk saying they won't come here because of Brexit actually wanted to come here at all. Another 'I told you so' remoaner story. Any 'facts' in this piece?? or is it all 'so and so' are apparently increasingly saying 'such and such' .....meaningless waffle.

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  • If we leave the EU but stay in the Single Market it could be business as usual but the common dislike of "immigrants" without understanding that the rules of the Single Market require free movement of businesses, traders, professionals, students, researchers, and workers all around the EU may prevent us staying in the Single Market. The BREXIT campaigners offered no policies on how the UK could prosper outside the EU seeming to think that that was the Government's job. My MP voted for leaving the EU citing as his reason that Switzerland and Chile have higher value international trade than the EU has but without asking himself what the UK had which it could sell abroad since we don't make the world's most expensive watches or have the world's deposits of lithium for the world's mobile device batteries and that is typical of the thinking of BREXITERS. No factual comparison ability.

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  • Democracy...what a pain in the backside hey??

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