Jobless future for generation of GPs

The UK may be left with a generation of unemployed doctors as medical student places outweigh available jobs, GP leaders have warned.

Dr Dan Bunstone: 'Many registrars are looking to breach the bottleneck by moving regions or treading water until jobs arise' (Photograph: M Jones)

BMA Scotland has called for medical student places to be cut to match anticipated demand.

The call comes after GP leaders in England warned that students are struggling to find jobs or places on the foundation programme.

In a letter to Scotland's health minister, BMA Scotland chairman Dr Brian Keighley said it would be wrong to maintain current undergraduate medical student numbers as there is 'little prospect' of medical employment for a 'significant number' of them.

Dr Keighley outlined that the level of specialty training intake between 2011 and 2015 means 5 per cent of medical graduates are expected not to secure a foundation training place in Scotland. He added that 21 per cent of those on the foundation programme will not progress further in Scotland.

'These doctors will be lost completely from the Scottish medical workforce as they will not be qualified to work in other medical posts,' Dr Keighley warned.

Meanwhile, GP leaders in England warned the problem could be replicated in England.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'Many people have questioned whether there is an oversupply of doctors. Medical students are finding it difficult to find places on foundation posts and jobs at time when hospital services are contracting. It is something the medical student committee and the BMA would want to look at very seriously.'

Meanwhile, Dr Dan Bunstone, a GP in Cheshire and member of GP's panel of GPs aged under 35, said registrars have real concerns about what will happen at the end of their training.

He said: 'Many are looking to breach the bottleneck by moving regions or treading water until jobs arise.'

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