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GPs go forth

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)

  • Possibly the only positive of Brexit.

    NHSE plan was to 'flood the market' ( actual quote from very senior NHSE exec and destroy the consultant/GP 'grip' on the NHS.

    That plan wasn't actually working but now has no chance and will be dropped

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  • Azeem Majeed

    As I discussed in a recent presentation, recruitment of doctors and other health professionals is only one of many issues arising from Brexit that will have a significant impact on the NHS.

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  • If europeans are changing their minds, countries outside the EU are barred (such as traditional recruiting grounds like s. asia), local young grads are emigrating and more senior colleagues are retiring early then who is going to do the work that needs to be done??????

    maybe people will just stop being ill?? or thats what they are hoping anyway

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  • Azeem;

    Do you not think that not taking European doctors will have some positive long term effects.

    i.e Stop politicians from hiding from the core problem?

    Make General Practice viable and enjoyable and the Doctors will come ( out of retirement, not doing medicine, travelling etc)

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  • why would you come to this cesspit of a country i.e. UK?

    NI and Scotland have their own problems but seems England (and the annexe that is Wales) feel they can sink them all at will and are actively doing so.

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  • "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." a GP working in Scotland may I add there is very little chance of replacing you with a UK doctor. The work is sh*t and GPs here aren't interested in working In this awful system longterm.

    Jo Hood said: "The UK is facing a major doctor shortage because we don’t train enough and large numbers are nearing retirement or giving up. "
    .............BS! We have trained enough but we can't work full time due to workload and fear of burnout. Myself and others have capacity to work more but we won't be doormats and treated as sh*t.

    Fix this awful job or don't bother and the decline will continue. We are nearing the tipping point fast.

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  • Azeem Majeed

    Jo Smit | Work for a pharmaceutical company11 Nov 2016 5:26pm

    I agree that we should train more of our own doctors, and retain the ones we already have. However, for now, we are still reliant on overseas-qualified doctors.

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  • UK is well known to rely on overseas doctors to do the shit jobs.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Here you go , the birth of a 'New World' and its new order . Both sides of the Atlantic are !converted' with more wannabe believers queuing up in France , Italy and possibly Germany ready to take over the helm of their governments.
    The only irony is : no so-called winners seemed to have any idea of how they are to fulfil the promises they made to their anti-establishment , anti-globalisation voters.
    But when you have our PM and Foreign secretary wasted no time to congratulate the newly elected US president who called his winning campaign 'Brexit +++' , you know we will be in the front instead of the back of queue as far as breaking a 'deal' is concerned. '' No worries , we will sort something out together and these bas***ds in the world would have to bow down to our new order'' ,said the big orange wolf .
    Though , everything comes with a price . While the newly elected US president has the opportunity to choose his own 'favourite' Supreme Court justice,the independence of our judiciary has been seriously attacked and undermined by hard-core Brexitters (e.g. the one paper that never stops bashing us). Direct democracy had told us to leave EU but it has never provided the logistics of how to implement. That requires laying down legislation(s) ,something many people have probably forgotten. And the task of making these legislations is the sole responsibility of the ruling government. (We would not have CCGs if there was no legislation called Health and Social Care Act).Yes, the PM has something called Royal Prerogatives but the existing legislation European Communities Act 1972 clearly stated that there has to be a new Act to be passed . It is not about reversing Brexit but rather ,setting the terms and conditions of how to leave EU. High Court had done nothing wrong here and one should respect the verdict if Supreme Court comes up with same conclusion in January next year .
    When it comes to NHS, nobody seems wanting to use the word 'betrayal ' as far as this post Brexit government is concerned. On hind sight ,all these money promised to go into NHS as a result of leaving EU now not only appears to be a hoax , but also a 'bait' convincing people to cast the 'leave' vote in June. Of course , we now also learnt the truth of exactly how much money will go into NHS by 2020, thanks to the health select committee in House of Commons. Simon Stevens' Five Year Forward Plan(s) becomes a pie in the sky under such conditions of funding . Even the STP has become a misnomer as the T, transformation requires adequate funding to render its feasibility. I am sure that even many technocrats would have to agree to that. So that leaves you with Sustainability Plan(SP) meaning ruthless closure of hospitals, services and of course ,GP practices, the list goes on.
    Considering the newly defined US-UK brotherhood and the newly elected president's urge to send Obamacare six feet under , the outlook of NHS is even more bleak.
    The workforce problem in NHS is more complex and deep-rooted than this government can understand . Simply saying that we will eventually become 'self sufficient' is exactly in the same mentality as calling to invoke article 50 at the end of March next year with no road map to reach the destination . At the moment , NHS and general practice heavily depend on our colleagues from abroad . It is an understatement to say we owe them a lot. This toxic environment created by Brexit , arguably xenophobic, naturally will stop more medical colleagues joining us in NHS; common sense.
    Perhaps , this opportunity of going through the parliament to lay down all conditions for Brexit is the last chance to ensure NHS will not be sacrificed as a price for the final destination. Our representatives will have to go furthest, by any imaginable means , to ensure NHS survival is one of these conditions to be laid down in House of Commons debate.......I am pessimistic.
    Has history re-written itself? One thing is clear :Trump is not Reagan and May is not Thatcher 2.0.........

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  • Vinci Ho

    John Bew had similar view on the future US-UK relationship:

    With a bit of stretch of imagination, the future picture could be 30,000 American medical professionals working in the UK health service(whatever it will be called does not matter). So much American research funds and researchers will come into U.K. annually( mainly from US pharmaceuticals) . Of course , there will be a new trade deal across the Atlantics which will cover medical sectors.
    One can also substitute or add Chinese before medical professionals , research funding etc.

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