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

Cost-effectiveness of GP at Hand 'challenging' to assess, interim report warns

Cost-effectiveness of GP at Hand 'challenging' to assess, interim report warns

The cost-effectiveness of the Babylon GP at Hand service will be difficult to determine...

How we improved end-of-life care in our practice

How we improved end-of-life care in our practice

Dr Victoria Middleton explains how her practice has increased the number of patients...

12,000-patient practice forced to close after service charge hike

12,000-patient practice forced to close after service charge hike

A 12,000-patient GP practice in Nottinghamshire has been forced to hand back its...

GP services could be outsourced overseas under licensing changes being explored by the GMC

GP services could be outsourced overseas under licensing changes being explored by the GMC

General practice could be outsourced to digital medical services based overseas under...

London CCGs contest demands to pay for patients moving to GP at Hand

London CCGs contest demands to pay for patients moving to GP at Hand

London CCGs are contesting demands that they pay for patients who have signed up...

GP who secretly filmed CQC inspection suspended for two months

GP who secretly filmed CQC inspection suspended for two months

A single-handed GP who made covert audio and video recordings of his CQC inspection...