New research from the University of Manchester shows that one fifth of England's GPs trained abroad and typically work in the country’s most deprived communities. The study shows that 4.1% of UK GPs were trained in the EU, whilst 17% of doctors trained outside the EU. The recent study from the University of Manchester's Health eResearch Centre uses data collected from more than 90% of England's GP surgeries, and reveals that, despite receiving a lower wage than UK-qualified counterparts, GPs from overseas generally work longer hours, treat larger numbers of patients and often provide support to the most deprived communities across the country.
The implications of Brexit could therefore pose a number of challenges regarding the retention and replacement of GPs who have trained abroad. Recruitment of new doctors has also proved to be a challenge, as recent numbers from the Department of Health show that just 2,700 GPs were recruited in 2016, which fell short of the goal by 550 new doctors.
Professor Aneez Esmail from The University of Manchester said:
“The NHS is already facing such a major GP crisis that in 2015 the Secretary of State for Health promised to increase the number of GPs by 5,000 by 2020. But given that the current workforce is ageing, it takes ten years to fully train a GP and current recruitment figures are down, it seems extremely unlikely these targets will be met. Overseas doctors have always been part of the solution and have provided a valuable remedy to the shortage of GPs in England, this needs to be acknowledged by policy makers and our politicians.”
Further information on the study is available on the HeRC website.