Hundreds of GPs have left the NHS to work overseas, new FOI reveals

16th April 2021 by NASGP

Hundreds of GPs have left the NHS to work overseas, new FOI reveals

Thousands of doctors have quit the NHS for overseas work, the i paper revealed last week after a successful Freedom of Information request.

Figures obtained from the GMC revealed that since 2015 more than 2,000 GPs and specialists have left the UK to work abroad. More than 4,000 non-specialists, including junior doctors, have also left the UK register.

The paper warns that for many doctors, immigration laws have made it impossible for GPs to care for elderly parents locked out of the UK.

The BMA has partnered with British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and Pakistani Physicians of Northern Europe (APPNE) and called for a review of adult dependent relative (ADR) visas.

Dr Kitty Mohan, BMA international committee chair, told the paper: “While the reasons underpinning doctors’ decisions to move overseas are likely numerous and complex, the Government and employers must step up efforts to retain these skilled clinicians.

“This includes making it as easy as possible for appropriately qualified overseas-born staff, to whom the NHS owes so much, to work and stay in the UK.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of the NASGP, said: “As GPs we are experts in family, health, caring for our local communities, whether we choose to do that in one practice or across multiple practices as a freelance GP.

“We’re struggling to recruit 5,000 GPs to help care for our communities. We need to be doing everything possible to encourage a rich diversity of doctors to work in the NHS, supporting colleagues to work and stay in the UK.

“ADR visa rules were tightened in 2012 to reduce the burden on the NHS and social care, and as we understand more and more the huge contribution that overseas doctors have made to the NHS, this report suggests that policy has now backfired.”

The NASGP welcomed the news last November that NHS doctors will be given extensions in order to continue their invaluable and supportive work in the UK.

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