The flight of UK doctors abroad shows no sign of stopping.
More doctors than ever are applying to the GMC for a Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) – the document that allows them to register with an overseas regulatory body or employer. In the past two years, the number of CGS applications has reached more than 4,700 per year, with many doctors heading to Australia and New Zealand for the shorter working hours and higher wages.
In the absence of any official data, the number of CGSs issued each year is the most reliable indicator of how many doctors are considering moving abroad.
However, not all doctors who hold a CGS leave the country, and many of those who do remain on, or return to, the medical register.
Nevertheless, Pulse last year revealed that the number of CGS applications had risen by more than 12% since 2008 and the latest figures from the GMC show the number is still rising – a further 2,485 doctors have received certificates in the first six months of 2014 alone, compared with 2,479 for the same period in 2013.
And according to figures from overseas medical regulators, there has been a steady stream of UK medical migrants to other countries, with Australia being one of the most popular destinations although applications have slowed in favour of other destinations in recent years.
Guy Hazel, managing director of the Austmedic recruitment agency, says there are fewer GP vacancies available in Australia than three years ago.
He sees a spike in serious enquiries every year in August as MRCGP trainees receive their Certificate of Completion of Training.
He says: ‘Most GP trainees who apply this August will be practising in Australia by February next year. Most of them graduate and then spend three or four months locuming before moving over.
‘But it’s not just newly qualified GPs – I’m helping a 40-year-old GP partner from Northern Ireland to move over this week. I see a lot of partners looking to move because they’re attracted to the lifestyle.’