Post-Brexit landscape for European doctors

The General Medical Council (GMC) has urged the government to clarify how doctors with qualifications from the EEA will be able to join the UK medical register, as European doctors grow ‘increasingly nervous about the post-Brexit landscape’. The GMC’s report highlights that while the number of EEA doctors on and joining the medical register has been constant since the referendum, this could all change depending on the outcome of the negotiations.

The GMC said it is important that we ‘continue to value this important cohort of EEA qualified doctors’ and work to ensure that the current uncertainty does not deter them joining the UK register and contributing to the NHS.

The report’s findings include, among others:

• there are currently almost 22,000 EEA doctors on the UK medical register with around 2,000 joining the register for the first time every year

• the top five nationalities on the medical register are the Republic of Ireland, Greece, Romania, Italy and Germany

• from 2012 to 2014, the number of EEA graduates joining the profession increased, and between 2012 and 2016 the number of EEA graduates leaving almost doubled—but 2017 saw this trend reverse with a 39% reduction in EEA licensed doctors leaving

• the specialties of ophthalmology and surgery are particularly reliant on doctors with EEA qualification, who make up 24% and 18% of the workforce respectively

• the contribution of EEA doctors to the NHS is also particularly significant in remote and rural areas in all four UK countries

Source: Report: Our data about doctors with a European primary medical qualification in 2018

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