The number of British medical students educated in Europe who are struggling to get placements in the UK are in ‘the thousands’, the RCGP has said.
RCGP professional development vice chair Dr Margaret Ikpoh made the comments to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee during an evidence session on the future of general practice.
Dr Ikpoh said she was ‘really concern[ed]’ about the lack of strategy to try to get trainee doctors ‘back into practices in the UK’.
She said: ‘We have a significant proportion of medical students who are British, and I was told about this by Health Education [England] last week, that study in Europe, and I was told the figures are up to thousands.’
She added: ‘I’m not quite sure what the strategy is in trying to get them back into practices in the UK because they are struggling to get clinical placements, and they’re competing with the other colleges for foundation placements. And that’s something else that does really concern me.’
Dr Ikpoh also told MPs today that recently qualified overseas GPs are receiving deportation letters soon after completing their medical training in the UK.
Pulse revealed in 2017 that health education bosses were looking to recruit UK nationals who were studying abroad in an attempt to increase GP numbers.
However, since then, Health Education England has been successful in recruiting trainees with a record 4,000 GP trainee places having been filled as of November 2021, up on the 3,793 new recruits in 2020.
Almost 800 applicants had been placed on a ‘reserve list’ for foundation training this year, after not being allocated a placement for FY1. However, all remaining applicants were allocated a placement.
But this hasn’t translated into easing the recruitment crisis in general practice, with the Government failing in its aim to recruit 6,000 new GPs by 2024.