The British Medical Association has warned that nearly half of EU doctors working in the UK (45%) are considering leaving as a consequence of Brexit.
18% – nearly 1 in 5 – has already made plans to leave the UK.
These figures come from a survey of 1,720 EEA (European Economic Area) doctors working in the UK.
The survey also revealed that the key reasons for leaving were :
- Brexit vote
- Negative behaviour towards EU workers in the UK
- Uncertainty around immigration rules
The report identified that 77% of respondents would feel encouraged to leave if there is a negative Brexit outcome on EU citizen rights
There are currently around 12,000 EU doctors in the NHS, which constitutes 7.7% of the UK medical workforce.
In terms of GP services, a GMC report published in 2017 showed that around 3,122 GPs working in the UK originally graduated in an EU country other than the UK.
This level of loss would have a severe impact on UK healthcare services which are already stretched, with consequences for the quality and availability of patient care.
BMA treasurer Dr Andrew Dearden said:
“It’s 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.”
The BMA has called on the Government to look after NHS long-term stability, outlining key areas including permanent residence for EU doctors and medical researchers already in the UK, a flexible immigration system and mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
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