Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Problems for NHS as more GPs leave the UK to work abroad

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 19/08/2013

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that the NHS could be "dangerously" affected by general practitioners leaving the UK to work abroad.

According to statistics published in the doctors' journal Pulse, the number of GPs who called on the General Medical Council (GMC) for Certificates of Good Standing (CGS) has increased by over 33% since 2008.

CGS is required by any British doctor who wishes to register to practise overseas.

Heavier workload and lower incomes

According to a senior GP, the increase in GPs leaving the UK is due to heavier caseloads and lower incomes, with the majority of disaffected doctors headed for Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Tony Grewal of Londonwide Local Medical Committees said that GPs were "fleeing the sinking ship". Dr Grewal agreed that "workload, income and respect are all moving in the wrong direction, and GPs are moving in the direction of their choice: the Antipodes."

GPs are also concerned about the effect of the new GP contract, which requires doctors' rooms to offer extra services so they can retain previous funding levels.

Harder for GPs who stay

The International Committee of the BMA noted that this increase in departing GPs and a rise in the number of doctors deciding to become locums, makes things harder for those who choose to stay in Britain.

"The impact on the workforce is dreadful," said Dr Mary McCarthy, the committee's GP representative. "We don't have enough trainees. We probably need 50% more GPs and at the moment we have more like 30% to 40%."

Dr McCarthy added that if the trainees leave for overseas, staff who are still here will be pressured to work even harder in pursuit of ever-tougher targets.

GP investment needed

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) wants ministers urgently to invest more in GPs. RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said: "It is a great shame but not surprising that such a high number of GPs are moving abroad when across the UK we are heaving under ever-increasing workloads and decreasing resources.

"We need to make the profession an attractive choice for medical graduates and to put incentives in place to make it easier for those who wish to return to general practice in the UK to do so."

Effects on patient care

With GPs and nurses under increasing pressure due to heavy workloads, it is unfortunate that patient care can suffer as a result. GPs are often consulting up to 60 patients in a day, and on average nurses care for 7.8 patients on a day shift and 10.9 at night.

It is important that patients receive the treatment that they need, and also understand what they can do if things do go wrong.

With NHS services under threat like never before, instances of medical negligence can only increase. If patients believe they have a valid claim for medical negligence, it is doubly important that they seek the most professional legal advice available.

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