Responding to the publication of the General Medical Council’s ‘The state of medical education and practice in the UK report: 2017’, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“We welcome the regulator’s recognition that the NHS is in the midst of a workforce crisis and that decisions made today will have a significant impact on what the health service and patient care will look like in 20 years’ time.
“Today’s report reflects our own concerns - notably that the number of doctors has failed to keep up with demand, leaving the health service underprepared to meet current demands and manage a growing and ageing population suffering from increasingly complex conditions.
“We know doctors are worried about their ability to provide safe patient care, so it’s important to see the regulator, whose responsibility it is to ensure patient safety, acknowledging the impact that staff shortages has on the delivery of safe, high-quality care.
“As the research notes, the UK is reliant on doctors from abroad, and Brexit could compound difficulties recruiting and retaining these staff. Despite pledges from the government to protect European doctors already working in Britain, the tangible effect of the referendum result on the lives of EU nationals is beginning to become clear, with our own research showing that a fifth of EEA doctors have made solid plans to leave the country since last June.
“The report shows that doctors are increasingly choosing to take breaks in training or in some cases leaving the profession all together, often due to heavy workloads, poor morale and burnout. It is vital that we address these issues to ensure medicine is seen to be an attractive and accessible career choice, and the solutions proposed by the GMC are a step in the right direction.”
Notes to editors
The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical, professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.