Over 700 GPs have left the NHS over the past six years to move overseas, according to GMC figures.
The data, obtained by the i newspaper via the Freedom of Information Act, found that between 2015 and 2020, 743 GPs had asked to be removed from the register as they were moving to work overseas.
Figures also showed that 1,695 specialists and 4,315 non-specialists had also asked to be removed from the register over the same time period.
It comes after the number of fully-qualified full time-equivalent GPs working in England dropped by 651 between June 2019 and June 2020.
The reasons for removal from the GMC register are not given, however it comes after a recent survey by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and the Association of Pakistani Physicians of Northern Europe (APPNE) found that the visa rules for adult dependent relatives put a large emotional burden on immigrant doctors, who constitute around a third of the NHS workforce.
The survey, carried out in August 2020, found that 91% of respondents reported feelings of anxiety because of this issue and 80% had thought of relocating.
The BMA and RCGP have written to the Government to urge the visa rules be changed in order to enable doctors to stay in the UK.
BMA international committee chair, Dr Kitty Mohan, said: ‘With a record backlog in the number of patients waiting for care, the last thing the NHS can afford right now is to lose more doctors. The thousands who have left the UK in recent years represent a huge loss of knowledge and expertise to the health service and its patients.
‘While the reasons underpinning doctors’ decisions to move overseas are likely numerous and complex, the Government and employers must step up efforts to retain these skilled clinicians.
‘This includes making it as easy as possible for appropriately qualified overseas-born staff, to whom the NHS owes so much, to work and stay in the UK, and by removing bureaucratic, illogical and uncompassionate barriers preventing them from giving their all to the health service.’
It follows Pulse’s workload survey, which found that GPs are dealing with an average 37 patients per day – far exceeding the 28 patient contacts they felt should be the safe limit for a GP working in the pandemic.