Medical students' enthusiasm and commitment 'crushed' says BMA, after study finds one in three plans to quit NHS

by BMA media team

BMA press release

Location: UK
Published: Monday 11 September 2023
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Responding to the findings of a study that one in three medical students plan to leave the NHS within two years of graduation, Dr Latifa Patel, BMA representative body chair, said:

"There have been increasing concerns about doctors, at the start of their careers, deciding to leave the UK and we have seen blatant recruitment campaigns to urge them to do so. However, this survey reveals the very real and worrying trend of doctors making the decision, even before they have qualified, to either practise medicine overseas, leave the NHS or leave the profession altogether. It is disheartening that medical students already recognise the extent to which our profession has been devalued through constant pay erosion and declining working conditions, and have made up their minds, as a result, that the NHS is not the right place for them to work. They are investing seven years of their lives, starting out with the intent to be a doctor in our NHS, only to have that enthusiasm and commitment crushed out of them. 

"The Government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this increasingly untenable situation. This study clearly shows that increasing medical school places alone is not enough to turn the tide on the growing workforce crisis. It is not too late to fix this, but the power to do so rests with the Government. Retention must be prioritised, and plans must address pay restoration, career progression and working conditions. The Government making a credible offer to our members to reverse 15 years of declining pay must be the starting point."

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.

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