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Independents' Day

800 GPs applying for permit to work abroad every year

Exclusive The number of GPs applying for certificates that enable them to leave the UK to work abroad has increased by almost 50% since 2008, Pulse can reveal.

Official figures from the GMC obtained by Pulse have revealed that the number of GPs who requested ‘Certificates of current professional status’ from the regulator, which allows them to practise oversees, has increased from 576 in 2008 when records began to 822 in 2014.

However, the figures also show that the numbers have stabilised in the past four years, with around 418 having applied in the first six months of 2015. This compares with 828 applications in 2012 and 860 in 2013.

GP leaders said that GPs used to go away for experience, but they are no longer returning.

Pulse revealed yesterday that recruitment agencies were quoting health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans for seven-day working in an attempt to attract GPs to work overseas.

The ‘Certificates of Current Professional Standing’ (CCPS) - which was formerly called the ‘Certificate of Good Standing’ (CGS), is the documentation that doctors require the GMC to send to the place where they want to work to prove that no FTP proceedings are ongoing or pending decision.

GMC - Doctors working abroad

However, the GMC insists that the CCPS must not be considered a definitive measure of how many doctors have gone to work abroad, adding that the numbers only confirm the amount of doctors which have requested the certificate.

Last year, Pulse reported that 5,000 doctors were looking to leave the UK to work abroad.

But the GMC said that those figures only included certificates which were sent to regulatory bodies abroad on behalf of GPs, while the new figures include the regulatory bodies and also other bodies which the certificates were sent to including health authorites, Government departments or locum agencies. 

Speaking to Pulse, Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the GPC’s education, training and workforce committee, said: ‘There’s two things here. Doctors always went abroad for a period of experience, to gain extra skills and to see things you don’t see in the UK – and they would come back, so from that respect it may not come to as to much of a surprise that the numbers haven’t changed a great deal.

‘But having said that, people aren’t looking to come back. In my own surgery I’ve lost GPs to Australia, and friends who were GPs to New Zealand all in the last few years.’

Guy Hazel, managing director of the Austmedic recruitment agency, told Pulse: ‘We have recently had a big surge in enquiries from GPs that have just finished their training looking to get a job in Australia. Two years ago, I would have said that the enquiries were heavily skewed to GP Partners, and now I think it’s moving more towards young GPs who fancy something different from the UK.

‘There’s still heaps of jobs in Australia – in the outskirts of all the major capital cities – so there is still strong demand. And UK GPs are highly thought of in Australia, and when they arrive, most of them are over the moon with the quality of life. My wife is a GP in Australia and London – over there she controls how many patients she sees, and therefore she can focus on the quality of care she delivers.’

These new figures come as Health Education England recently opted to ramp up its plans boost the GP workforce with its returner scheme which was launched in March.

But Pulse recently revealed that it has only attracted a single GP to each of the two areas in England with the highest vacancy rates for GP trainees.

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Readers' comments (43)

  • Make that 801

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  • 802

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  • They won't get far in an A319

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  • guys - how do you go about applying ?

    can you apply to multiple places ?

    what do you do if you ever want to come back to the UK eg for locum work ?

    can Pulse do an article?

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  • All I can say is get out while you can.

    Things are going to get alot worse - a lot lot worse. If you have the chance and nothing to tie you down - leave

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  • Skills are what count in all of this;

    The govt can try to bully, dump work, cut pay, impose contractual changes etc...... but in the end the world is MUCH MUCH bigger than little England. A GP trained in the UK has global options......

    there are literally tens of thousands of jobs out there in the world you can do should you so wish.

    It will be interesting to see how this all pans out in a few years. I still think personally 800 odd GPs leaving is not a crisis, however add to this mix, retirements, GPs leaving partnerships to retire and the shortage of trainees coming onto vts and its got the potential to cause a serious headache!!!! Will it change policy and make the "decision makers" change their ways............time will tell!!
    certainly will look more likely if 2000 or even 3000 GPs looked at moving abroad per year!!!

    As always interesting times ahead for the UK!!

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  • should read
    * GPs leaving partnerships to locum !

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  • Flying next week to Australia

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  • yes, it is a global market and doctors from other countries have options too. if GP in the UK becomes less and less attractive, fewer foreign doctors will choose to come here.
    In the past we have relied on poaching doctors from poorer countries. Fewer choosing to come here will also add to the crisis.

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  • If all goes according to plan, will start working in Australia from November this year.

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  • does anyone know what Ireland is like for GP work?

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  • Can someone convince my wife that Oz is much better than Norfolk?!! PLEASE :@

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  • Does anyone know if experienced GPs from UK wishing to move to Australia or New Zealand have to go through the hoops of a refresher programme, with MCQ & CSA examinations, similar to the new NHS newly launched I&R programme for returning GPs to UK? Please let me know.

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  • Some of my friends have moved to Australia in the last 2 years and they all keep going on about better lifestyle they have. I have not heard any negative comments from these guys. We live in a global world and unfortunately UK is not an attractive place for GPs anymore. We are worth much more and in a private setting we would easily make 15-20k/month. We all are working extremely hard here and taking risks all the time. Things can only get worse......

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  • Gp job in uk is now unsustainable, too risky , lawyers are minting money . too much overegulated profession
    one slight mistake and one could out of his livelihood , This is most risky profession in uk .

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  • make it 803

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  • 804

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  • 805, leaving partnership to be a freelance GP

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  • so 2% of GPs leaving to gain experience abroad is a crisis ?

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  • The government isn’t remotely bothered by this. They think they can replace us all with Zoology graduates who will work seven days a week for half our income.

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