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More international doctors apply to train in NHS – but fewer from the EU

The number of international doctors applying to train in the NHS has increased significantly in the last year, according to the GMC.

The GMC said in board papers that they received a total of 2,284 applications from international medical graduates in the first four months of 2018 – a 49% increase on last year.

However, they added that there is a ‘continuing decline in applications from European nationals’.

The board papers said: ‘While we do not have concrete evidence as to why an increasing number of IMGs are applying for registration in the UK, we expect the number of live vacancies in the UK medical workforce is a significant driver.’ 

This comes as NHS England continues its plans to recruit over 2,000 GPs from Europe by 2020, with just 85 in post as of the end of March.

It also comes as the Government promised to take a ‘fresh look’ at visa rules that cap the number of overseas doctors allowed to work in the NHS, which GP leaders said would allow the NHS to ‘recruit the several hundreds of available overseas doctors who can start work imminently to ease pressure in a health service under escalating strain’.

England’s GP workforce is continuing to decline with 1,000 GPs leaving since 2015, when the Government pledged to recruit 5,000 more GPs by 2020.  Last week was the first time health secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted that he is ‘struggling to deliver’ on the pledge.