Responding to a new General Medical Council (GMC) workforce report out today, Emma Runswick, deputy chair of BMA council, said:
“What’s clear from today’s General Medical Council report is that far more needs to be done to value and develop doctors and stop their exodus from UK practice.
“Increased recruitment is heavily reliant on international medical graduates who accounted for more than half of all new joiners in 2022. International colleagues are highly valued in our workforce but when they continue to face systemic discrimination of the UK visa systems and local contracts, they often move again. That said, continuous recruitment of international medical graduates is not sustainable solution to the UK workforce crisis and we also have ethical concerns that reliance on them could cause serious shortages elsewhere; we must focus on developing and retaining our existing doctors.
“More doctors than ever continue to leave UK practice, and a growing number are quitting because of dissatisfaction and the high risk of burnout. Others are taking longer periods away from training after working just two years post-graduation, with many citing their health and wellbeing as a common reason. Employers should look to offering these doctors an alternative career pathway, drawing on their skills with appropriate Specialty or Specialist contracts, but employers are often resistant to this approach. The Government must take the findings of this report seriously and implement a thorough workforce retention plan before our current staffing crisis reaches breaking point. The GMC itself acknowledges that the clock is ticking."
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.