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Almost one in five of the NHS’s European doctors are planning to quit Britain, according to new research.
And almost half of the health service’s 12,000 medics from the European Economic Area (EEA) are considering moving abroad, the British Medical Association (BMA) survey of 1,720 of them found.
In total, 45 per cent of respondents to the BMA survey said they were thinking about leaving Britain following the result of the EU referendum in June 2016, while a further 29 per cent were unsure whether they would go.
Among those who were considering going elsewhere, 39 per cent have already made plans to leave. The 12,000 doctors from the EEA represent 7.7 per cent of the NHS’s medical workforce.
Some of those leaving have been offered jobs abroad, while others are applying for jobs overseas. Some have begun the process of seeking citizenship elsewhere, while others are having their qualifications validated so they can work elsewhere, the BMA said.
Andrew Dearden, treasurer, BMA, said: “That so many EU doctors are actively planning to leave the UK is a cause for real concern. Many have dedicated years of service to the NHS and medical research in the UK, and without them our health service would not be able to cope.”
Darren Jones, Labour MP and support of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, said: “The British people were told last year that Brexit would boost the NHS by £350 million a week. Now the evidence is piling up that it will break it instead.
“We all depend on the brilliant work done by doctors, nurses and other staff who come from the EU. There is no chance that we could replace their expertise if they continue to leave the UK.”
But the Department of Health said that figures released last week by the General Medical Council showed the BMA’s findings were inaccurate.
A spokesperson said: “This survey does not stand up to scrutiny. In fact, there are actually more EU doctors working in the NHS since the EU referendum, more EU graduates joining the UK medical register and 3,193 more EU nationals working in the NHS overall.”