A new report from the General Medical Council (GMC) has found that a third of doctors are considering leaving medical practice, meaning they would no longer be working in clinical facing roles.
Pressures within the NHS are driving a portion of UK doctors to consider leaving the practice, with one in four saying that they are already working fewer hours by either going part-time or reducing their contracted hours.
Also of note, the proportion of younger doctors aged 45 years and under reporting this was only slightly below the figure for doctors older than 45 years - 18% compared with 23%.
“It is disheartening to hear of the pressures and compromised clinical decisions doctors and their teams face. We know this is a system under enormous strain which in turn places huge demands on our staff,” said Danny Mortimer, co-convenor of the Cavendish Coalition, a coalition of 36 health and social care organisations, and chief executive of NHS Employers.
“The current shortage of around 10,000 doctors combined with rising demand adds to the pressure on those currently in post,” he stressed.
One in ten doctors surveyed also reported that they have moved to a role with less clinical practice, whilst almost a quarter (23%) reported that they are considering practising abroad, and 21% are considering retiring. Also, worryingly, the data showed that 28% of younger doctors (18–34 years) are likely to be looking at practising abroad.
Mortimer continued: “The NHS heavily relies on talented doctors from across Europe. According to the Cavendish Coalition’s recently commissioned report from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), nine percent of doctors are from Europe and the rest of the world.
“Although we welcome the recent expansion in medical school places, we will need to keep relying on international doctors to help us deliver services and complement our homegrown talent.
Therefore, he stressed: “It is of paramount importance that any future immigration system is responsive and agile, with as little red tape as possible, and that it uses public service value as a key factor in assessing skill levels and setting entry requirements rather than just salary.
“This will help tackle the often misleading assumption that the salary paid to a migrant worker is the prime indication of the value of their work to the health and wealth of the UK.”