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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)

  • 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

    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.

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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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