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Immigration cap could lead to shortage of doctors, warns BMA

By Gareth Iacobucci

The NHS could be hit with a shortage of doctors unless the Government rethinks its plans to introduce an immigration cap, the BMA has warned.

The Government’s controversial plans will set an annual limit on the number of foreign workers allowed to come to UK as part of its pledge to reduce net migration and the BMA has urged the Government to reconsider the plans.

Dr Terry John, chair of the BMA’s International Committee and a GP in Waltham Forest, said the BMA agreed with a report from the Home Affairs Committee which raised concerns that the cap has been rushed through without proper consideration.

He said: ‘The Government needs to rethink its plans to take into account the impact these changes will have of the NHS. The UK relies on doctors from outside the EU to fully staff the NHS.’

‘The interim cap on skilled migration has already made it more difficult for employers to secure sufficient sponsorship certificates to meet their workforce needs. The imposition of a permanent cap is likely to make the problem worse.’

Dr John said the BMA was particularly concerned that the estimated 500 international graduates from UK medical schools each year may be unable to continue their training when the cap is imposed.

He said: ‘These doctors are already factored into workforce planning and it would be a huge loss to the NHS if they were not able to work in the UK.’

Dr Terry John: ‘The Government needs to rethink its plans’ Dr Terry John: ‘The Government needs to rethink its plans’