Four in 10 European doctors may leave UK after Brexit vote, BMA survey findsBMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j988 (Published 23 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j988
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The consequences of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (EU) will be wide-ranging. As a member of the EU for over 40 years, the UK is fully linked with Europe in all sectors of its society. This includes the NHS, which faces major risks if it fails to address the challenges that Brexit poses.
For many decades, the NHS has faced shortages in its clinical workforce and has relied heavily on overseas trained doctors, nurses and other health professionals to fill these gaps. This reliance on overseas-trained staff will not end in the foreseeable future. For example, although the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has announced that the government will support the creation of an additional 1,500 medical student places in England’s medical schools, it will be over 10 years before these students complete their medical courses and their subsequent post-graduate medical training.
The recruitment of overseas-trained health professionals has been facilitated by EU legislation on the mutual recognition of the training of health professionals. This means that health professionals trained in one EU country can work in another EU country without undergoing a period of additional training. Moving forwards, it’s unclear that this cross-EU recognition of clinical training will continue, placing further pressure on recruitment and thereby exacerbating shortages of health professionals.
Majeed A. Preparing for the impact of Brexit on health in the UK. http://ukandeu.ac.uk/brexits-impact-on-the-uks-health/
Competing interests: No competing interests