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GPs should pay off costs of medical training before moving abroad, says MP

GPs should be obliged to work in the NHS for a period of time after training, or pay off their training costs before moving abroad to work, an MP has claimed.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph today, Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling, suggests introducing a ‘return of service’ obligation for medical staff, similar to that of army personnel.

Pulse reported earlier this year that 800 GPs are applying for work abroad each year.

Mr Tugendhat, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, says it is ‘time for us to require those trained at the British people’s expense to work a number of years in the NHS before working abroad’.

The MP claims that it costs £500,000 to train a GP, and these costs ‘aren’t remotely covered by the tuition fees they pay as undergraduates’.

He adds: ‘We spend £5bn a year on training new medical personnel. Yet an increasing amount of that money is going overseas. Every year some 5,000 doctors leave the UK. The most popular destinations are Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

‘These are wealthy countries benefiting from British taxpayers’ expenditure. It is hard to argue this is the best use of resources when our own population is ageing and in need of greater investment in medical services.’

Mr Tugendhat likens this to the Armed Forces’ ‘return of service’ commitment, which sees fighter pilots, for example, having to serve 12 years in the RAF before joining the commercial sector.

It comes after media reports that there were almost 1,700 applications to the GMC for Certificates of Current Professional Status (CCPS), which allow doctors to work abroad, within just three weeks of the announcement of the junior doctor contract imposition.  

However, Pulse can reveal that much of this surge came following a campaign by the GP Survival group for doctors to apply for the certificates to send a message to the Department of Health.

Readers' comments (43)

  • Well this will help recruitment.....

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  • I welcome this....once MPs sign up to mandatory no expense claims for 10 years and no second mortgage paid for by tax payers for 10 years.

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  • Please take into account that more than 25% of the work force did not train at the British taxpayers expense.
    And, BTW, where do you get a £500,000 figure per GP bill to the taxpayer on top of £10,000 pa paid by the trainee himself?
    Maybe we should check the literacy levels of these MPs because that poor mathematics may be reponsible for irrational opinions they voice and decisions they make.

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  • Has anyone here talked to MP's, you will never accuse them of logic and rational thought !

    Once your IQ hits double digits that usually meets exclusion criteria for being an MP ( with few notable exceptions who almost have 3 digit IQ's).

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  • 3 digit IQS !!! are you sure...........ahhh I realize you forgot to mention that includes a decimal point after the first number and at best after the second number
    Remember its a lottery now a days and you can only choose numerical values from from 1-49 --oh sorry evolution has occurred its from 1-59 from next month

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  • Provide better pay.Invest in the NHS before you come up with this ideology.

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  • Does the UK repay the training costs of all the health care staff that it takes from other poorer countries???

    How about MPs being blocked from involvement with any companies that they may have had dealings with or influence over whilst in office for 10 years???

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  • £500,000!!

    a figure made up from thin air!

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  • @11:25

    I think the point is that the costs should be borne by the person themselves ie. a foreign doctor working in the NHS would pay their own country's taxpayers back for any subsidy they received when training.

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  • Er.....we do actually work while medical students and in training posts. Typical politician - try to counteract the result of political meddling with further meddling rather than address the cause. The exodus from NHS general practice is the direct result of changes imposed by govt making continuing/entering practice untenable for many. This was not the position when training began - look to your colleagues for redress, Mr Tugendhat, not highly intelligent professionals who simply can't take any more.

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