Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

GMC figures show sharp rise in GPs planning to emigrate

Over 500 English GPs began the regulatory process of leaving the country to practice elsewhere in 2013, GMC data has revealed.

Newly released five-year data shows a sharp year-on-year increase in the numbers preparing to emigrate, with 529 GPs requesting the required Certificate of Good Standing paperwork from the GMC - which is needed before practising abroad - compared with just 266 in 2009.

The news comes after repeated warnings of increasing numbers of GPs training in Britain but then choosing to leave to work in locations such as Australia, where GPs work shorter hours for higher pay.

The figures, obtained by the Labour Party, reveal that there has been a steady increase in the numbers of GPs requesting the certificates, with 329 issued in 2010, 370 in 2011 and 466 in 2012.

Although a request for a certificate does not necessarily mean the GP is applying to work abroad, it is considered the most accurate way of determining migration from the UK.

A recent Pulse investigation revealed that in total some 5,000 doctors a year request the GCS from the GMC, with Australia, New Zealand and Canada popular destinations for British GPs. The Australian Medical Council has awarded certificates of Advanced Standing to over 5,500 UK doctors since 2006, 40% of whom have gone on to complete the 12-month supervised performance assessments needed for general registration. It granted 945 certificates in 2012 and 729 in 2013.

New Zealand is also an increasingly popular destination for UK-trained doctors, with 469 doctors added to the New Zealand medical register in 2013 and 511 in 2012, according to the Medical Council of New Zealand. Specialist medical recruitment consultants have told Pulse that other sought-after destinations include Canada, the USA and the UAE.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘Cuts to the GP budget are placing intolerable pressure on services and forcing many GPs to move abroad or retire early in despair. People are already struggling to get GP appointments and things are set to get even worse.

‘Unlike this Government, Labour has a plan to turn primary care around. We will invest more money to recruit 8,000 more GPs, increase diagnostic testing capacity in GP surgeries and give patient a guarantee of appointments within 48 hours.’

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘The mass exodus of GPs - driven by soaring demand and plummeting resources - is a clear and present danger to patient safety.

‘On the one hand, GPs are leaving the profession due to intense pressure and a lack of support, and on the other, not enough medical students are opting for general practice because they see the pressure we are under.

‘GPs enter general practice to provide good quality and safe care for our patients but this is becoming harder and harder to do as a result of falling funding and diminishing resources - it is easy to understand why working in other countries is becoming so appealing to GPs in the UK.’

Number of Certificates of Good Standing issued by GMC to English GPs over the past five years:

2009: 266

2010: 329

2011: 370

2012: 466

2013: 529

Total: 1,960

Source: Data released by the GMC to the Labour Party


Readers' comments (30)

  • Count me in . I am out very soon to Australia .

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • could we all apply for one in the next year????
    that would really spook them
    2009: 266
    2010: 329
    2011: 370
    2012: 466
    2013: 529
    .......2014/2015 ...............35,000 !!!! -
    lets start a mass campaign now !

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The surprise here is that only 529 GPs appear to have made an attempt to leave the gulag Britain in 2013. I wonder how many more will choose to escape in 2014 and beyond! GPs have allowed themselves to become an irrelevance over the past few years. An increasingly hostile media, government policy and public have added to the burden of working with less resources and trying to achieve "more for less". No sane, self respecting professional would allow themselves to participate in this circus.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Tell us something we don't know ! No surprise.

    With my 12-13 hour days, I've worked out I earn about £25 per hour before tax and personal expenses.

    I wouldn't mind a big house, swimming pool, warm weather, shorter days, less stress, more respect from patients and Governments that don't over-regulate their doctors to the point of multiple jeopardy.

    I'm working on my missus to persuade her let's both clear off this Island...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The figures also tell us that 4500 non-GPs have requested a certificate of good standing. That's five times as many. This suggests that hospital medicine is in an even worse state, which many of us would agree with...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Here's more rubbish in the Guardian about the DoH's reaction:

    'A Department of Health spokesperson said that those doctors who applied for certificates of good standing did not necessarily go through with their plans to emigrate. She said: “Requesting these certificates is not the same as going abroad, and most doctors who do return to work in the NHS with more experience. We are increasing trainees so that, across the NHS, GP numbers continue to grow faster than the population – and we have 1,000 more since September 2010.”'

    how much more blinkered can you get?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well here is one GP who applied for his CGS last week and signs his contract to work overseas this week. I feel driven away by this government, the media, and the public making demands I just can't meet, and being often being very rude in the process. I'm just lucky I have no ties here- many of us would go if we didn't. The chickens are coming home to roost for bulying is for so long. Will I return? Possibly, but unlikely if the experience that we are well paid and respected in the host country I am moving to is correct.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • shock horror.....not. who wants to work as a GP or in the NHS? everyone (myself included) that I know is looking to get out before the proverbial cow dung does hot the cealing or desk cooler.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Can the leavers pay back the cost of their training please?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • John Glasspool

    Anon @ 5.20- they already have, in blood, toil, sweat and tears. Long, long ago.

    And as to the crocodile tears from the evil scum in "New Liebour"- they were the ones that started the rot. Especially one G Brown's imposition of additional hours or a 10% pay CUT.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been moderated.

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say