NHS must continue to value and support EU and overseas doctors, warns RCGP chair

The NHS must continue to welcome and value the contribution of GPs from the EU and overseas who work in the UK health service, RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker has said.

Her comments came after health secretary Jeremy Hunt this week was widely criticised for a Conservative party conference speech in which he set out plans to end NHS dependency on overseas and EU-trained doctors, and to enforce a four-year mandatory period of NHS service for medical graduates trained in England.

Speaking at the RCGP conference 2016 in Harrogate on Thursday, Dr Baker said that it had long been RCGP policy that the NHS should be 'self-sufficient' for doctors.

'That has been the policy of this college for years. We should be producing the number of doctors we need and should not be denuding other countries of the doctors they need,' Dr Baker said.

NHS workforce

'But that doesn’t mean we don’t welcome EU and overseas doctors coming to this country.'

They must continue to be welcome and to be encouraged to come and work in the UK NHS, she said.

'We should produce enough doctors and some will go elsewhere, others will come here – that’s how it should be. We all benefit from colleagues going to work in other settings and coming back with different skills.

'As far as I am concerned and the RCGP is concerned, we hugely value colleagues wherever they come from. I hope the NHS will continue to value and support doctors who come and work with us.'

Full coverage of RCGP annual conference

Photo: Pete Hill

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