Will European doctors leave the NHS because of Brexit?
The majority of European doctors working in the UK are considering leaving the country because of Brexit, a survey by the General Medical Council (GMC) has found. Thousands could leave in the next two years, plunging the NHS into a fresh staffing crisis.
The doctors’ disciplinary body surveyed 2115 doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA), comprising the EU nations plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and found that 1171 (55%) were thinking of leaving the UK.
EU or EEA nationals account for about 10 200 – or roughly 9% – of NHS doctors, according to NHS Digital statistics.
Of the doctors who were thinking of leaving, 45% said they were considering a departure in the next two years, with 24% thinking about leaving in the next three to five years.
More than 1000 doctors added comments telling the GMC how they felt about Brexit and the impact on their jobs. The GMC said two common themes emerged: the emotional impact of Brexit – with many doctors saying they felt unwanted and demoralised – and uncertainty about their future residence status. Such uncertainty is unlikely to have been helped by Theresa May’s ongoing refusal to confirm the rights of EU nationals to stay in the UK after Brexit.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Can the NHS withstand such an exodus?