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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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  • Even dentists are having a tough time. Can't we join hands to fight this over regulation.

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  • 806 canada

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  • 807

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  • anon 2.03pm

    my best mate is a dentist in the midlands; owns his own practice with another partner. he makes close to 400k a year; he has a host of associates, but even they make around 150k per year--- yes thats right his SALARIED associates make more then I made as a GP partner............ i think dentists post 2005 have it harder because centralised contracts came into force but again most late 30's dentists with their own practices I know and am told about are doing well;

    the only way a UK GP can compete with dentists is to leave for a life abroad...australia, new zealand and canada can make you 20k per month!!

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  • 808

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  • 800 GP's emigrating is nothing

    the numbers haven't increased as much as I would have imagined having left there myself in 2012!

    The policy makers wont worry to much about this i'm sure.

    My question to my former colleagues is this, are things really that bad over there??? From reading some of the comments here I would have imagined GP's emigrating would be in the thousands....!

    For every UK trained GP leaving i'm sure the NHS will have plenty of keen GP's from European countries rushing to take their places.....

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  • 07 August 2015 7:16pm

    quite correct 2% of workforce is no concern. given some of the posts we should be expecting thousands of GPs to be leaving so it's right to ask if things are as bad as they are portrayed !

    now if 3-4000 GPs were emigrating (10% of workforce) then that would raise some eyebrows.

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  • baba shaminder singh wants agents to work in his TV SERIAL

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  • I beg to differ. About 6,000 doctor graduate each year, so 800 emigrating is about 13 %.

    We cannot tolerate this level of reduction as we need to train enough doctors to replace those retiring. In fact we are haemorrhaging doctors as many are retiring much earlier than they used to. Any means to escape is being taken.

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  • In fact it may be even worse than that if it is actually 800 GPs emigrating as 6,000 doctors graduate each year but not all become GPs.

    We may actually be losing over 20% of our replacement cohort of GPs.

    Pulse you need to investigate this further.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    @10:40 am. MRCGP is converted to FRACGP. It is recognised by Australia so no extra exam.

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  • To the person who wondered about returning. all you have to do is annual appraisal and can work in UK anytime. best to do one session per year to keep them sweet but actually dont have to as long as can persuade them of that as everyone thinks you do. can get overseas GMC reg dont cancel it or just continue with standard as I did. I work between uk and canada to keep life interesting and only do locum work top rates when back or with high rate tax better not working. lots of UK GPs here. paperwork to come is a pain exam is easy but 1500 pounds. 150 pound an hour on good day if busy and youre good at billing. more if the clinic you work in takes less then 40% mine does. you will spend only 10% on running place if you run own clinic could earn 300k a year if you worked 40 - 50 hours per week.
    Who knows if the overment is wrried. prob is with eat all you like GP contract. fewer GPs just means the remainin GPs ave to cover their work or face consequences lose contract so lose 10% workfore then everyone else just works a bit harder, partners at least. RLEP

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  • So Hunt has (sort-of) promised/suggested/hoped for 5000 more GPs to help us out. Yet here are 800x5=4500 leaving in this Parliament term. So a net increase of 500?

    Whaddayaknow? It was all bulls**t after all!

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  • 09 August 2015 9:56pm

    thanks !

    it would be great to locum abroad for a few months then come back to UK to visit family but still keep UK registration (as a GP). i think this is the way forward for a progressive multi-skilled workforce.

    it's not so much about the money as a locum here i could easily earn 150 k a year but it's all the other **** and if I did work like that in the UK I wouldn't have any energy for quality social/family time.

    thanks for the advice though as it's something that i'm going to look into !

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  • The numbers leaving the country are a worry, but pale into insignificance compared with the number retiring early, taking extended breaks or simply leaving to do something else.
    Add to this the increasing number who are only doing locums and the large number ( men as well as women) who have decided to work part time and we have a major problem.
    Even if the government don't care, the public will.

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  • 10 August 2015 12:51pm

    the public don't care as we are golf playing Bentley driving 'fat cats' living off the state who deliberately make them wait 2 weeks for an appointment and are not interested in them after their 10 min consultation slot is up....

    ... they will care if they start having to pay up front for it and pay the full cost of their individual care. they will then realize what a useful public insurance system the NHS was it reduced their individual contribution by sharing the costs of healthcare as widely as possible. but it will be too late.

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  • The world needs us.

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  • @2;50pm
    Definitely Africa needs us!!!

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  • To | Sessional/Locum GP | 09 August 2015 9:56pm

    Hi
    I am aiming to do exactly what you are doing. Any more guidance on doing locums in canada and uk simultaneously would be appreciated. Tax wise I'm confused what to do? Due to the unfortunate circumstances we all are in, I am afraid to give out any personal info.
    Thanks

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  • Mark Smith

    Left UK in March. Working in Perth. MRCGP (NOT MRCGP by assessment so experience without sit down exam MRCGP DOES NOT COUNT) gets you into a District Workforce Shortage area. Easy work. Easily same money. Lots of companies like APOLLO recruiting. One session a year in UK allows appraisal and ability to pop back for locums and exit clause if Oz isnt to your liking. LONG process as Oz authorities are pretty anal and backward. A school certificate proving did O level English I ask you!

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  • my locum agency gives some lessons in GPs dress sense…and your make up is so tacky.

    old haggards in a baby dress….we can secure a good job for you …if you have a lovely figure

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  • Beware the paperwork for OZ, it is unbelievable. Pulse could publish a pack eg 2X COGS from GMC, getting all your degrees validated X 3 times for different bodies, health insurance, school certificates etc. Leaving in 10 weeks, Excitement and trepidation.
    It is about money [ ie value] and workloads and pensions and CQC and Contract breach notices and Mr Hunt and GPC.
    They still pay management consultants £2000/ day in the NHS, judges £150000+, and only 3% pension and so on.
    Either the GPC does something drastic like balloting to leave the NHS or watch NHS GPs disappear.
    Breach notices tell you how little they care about you, in spite that you see 90% of the consultations on 8% of the budget and that your pay per consult has fallen 50% in 10 years.
    Why, oh why would anybody stay in this totally ungrateful NHS?

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  • Left the UK and my NHS career in 2007.....New Zealand.
    Do I have any regrets?
    Absolutely NOT.
    Not coming back.
    Way better working life with 4 days / week and EVERY fri day off. 24 patients per day and an AFTER HOURS service which is acceptable and not onerous. We don't do HOME VISITS....only res homes for 3/12 reviews.
    The choice is YOURS....take a punt and consider your future.
    Oh....and they play pretty good RUGBY too....

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