The Government should cover doctors’ student loans while they are practising in the UK, to boost retention, leaders have suggested.
The BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting voted for student loan repayments due while a doctor is in NHS medical employment to be covered.
The motion said that because of the length of medical training ‘many UK trained doctors have large student loans’ and ‘may consider leaving the UK for better pay and working conditions’.
Proposing the motion, Dr Brian Guttridge on behalf BMA’s Cornwall division pointed out that medical student loans can be in the region of £50,000 to £90,000.
He said that ‘the burden of an exceptionally large student loan’ is not without its consequences and that it is ‘probably putting off some excellent people’ from taking up a medical career.
He added: ‘We know we have an issue about doctors leaving the NHS – our Government and the NHS seem to be very slow at recognising that retaining staff is not just about giving them a contract and retention seems to be the new buzz word politically, so let’s build on that.
‘The Government seems to be finally picking up on the idea that they would like to retain some of the more senior doctors, let’s see if we can seize the moment and get some work done about the younger doctors as well.’
Speaking in favour of the motion, deputy representative of the BMA’s medical students committee Leah Brooksbank said: ‘When I came into medicine I had the plan of working for the NHS for life, like everyone in the UK I’m so grateful for everything that it has done for myself and my loved ones.
‘However, flashforward to me right now, I’d be a liar if I said that I haven’t researched working abroad or changing career completely and I know that many medical students and doctors feel the same.
‘There is no longer an incentive for medics to stay working in NHS – pay has been eroded, working conditions are terrible, burnout is high and on top of it we have this enormous student loan following us around wherever we go.’
Earlier today, the meeting passed a no confidence vote for the GMC, and will now call for its leadership’s dismissal.
Yesterday, doctors attending the meeting also voted in favour supporting GPs who refuse to declare their income.
The motion in full:
That this meeting recognises that because of the length of medical training many UK trained doctors have large student loans and may consider leaving the UK for better pay and working conditions. To seek to improve recruitment and retention, we call for any student loan repayments due while a doctor is in NHS medical employment to be paid by the government.
Are you looking for a new GP role?
Pulse Practice Jobs has 100s of GP vacancies to help power your next career move.
View and apply online ►