Hundreds of GPs could quit UK over Brexit, BMA poll suggests

Hundreds of GPs from European countries could quit the UK over Brexit, a BMA poll suggests.

A BMA survey of doctors from European Economic Area (EEA) countries who work in the UK found that 45% are considering leaving the UK after the EU referendum result, and nearly one in five have made concrete plans to leave.

The findings suggest that of the 12,000 doctors from EEA countries currently working in the NHS across the UK, around 5,400 could be ready to leave.

Official NHS data for England show that 1,280 of the current GP workforce - 4.4% of the total - qualified in EEA countries. The BMA findings suggest that almost 600 of these are considering leaving the country and that around 230 could have made plans to leave. The true figure could be higher because this workforce statistic does not include locum doctors.

BMA treasurer and former GPC negotiator Dr Andrew Dearden said: 'That so many EU doctors are actively planning to leave the UK is a cause for real concern. Many have dedicated years of service to the NHS and medical research in the UK, and without them our health service would not be able to cope.

GP workforce

'We need clarity on what the future holds for EU citizens and their families living in the UK, and an end to the uncertainty and insecurity that could see many voting with their feet. 

'It’s also vital that any future immigration system is flexible enough to ensure the NHS can recruit and retain doctors and other NHS workers in sufficient numbers. Our NHS and patient care are all the richer for having a diverse workforce - it’s crucial we don’t lose valuable experience and expertise because of Brexit.'

A total of 1,720 EEA doctors working in the NHS took part in the BMA poll.

Following the EU referendum, the BMA has been calling on the government to guarantee permanent residence for EU doctors and medical researchers currently in the UK, and for flexible immigration rules to support healthcare and research.

Speaking at the Conservative party conference earlier this year, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was confident that EU staff working in the NHS and social care would be able to remain in the UK.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Whitehall street sign

NHS officials doubled in two years as GP workforce dropped

Staff employed by NHS England and the DHSC doubled in two years from the start of...

Child coughing

NICE traffic light tool that helps GPs spot seriously ill under-5s 'unreliable'

NICE's 'traffic light' system - intended to help GPs identify risk of serious illness...

Pregnant woman receives COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine uptake in pregnant women rising but stark inequality remains

More than half of pregnant women are now double vaccinated against COVID-19 as uptake...

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...

GMC sign

Overseas-graduate GPs fare worse in medical tribunals due to lack of legal help

UK GPs who graduated overseas face worse outcomes in GMC cases because they are far...

Woman using HRT patch

Practical advice for GPs on prescribing HRT

GP menopause specialists Dr Louise Newson and Dr Olivia Jones provides an overview...