Potential 'disaster' for NHS with 42 per cent of European doctors 'considering leaving' UK post-Brexit

Challenging times: The NHS is facing further staff shortages (REX/Shutterstock)
Challenging times: The NHS is facing further staff shortages (REX/Shutterstock)

The NHS is facing a mass exodus of doctors post-Brexit, a new poll has revealed.

According to British Medical Association (BMA) research, 42 per cent of European doctors are thinking about quitting the UK following Britain’s vote to leave the EU, while a further 23 per cent say they’re unsure what to do.

The BMA warned this could spell “disaster” for the NHS, which is already facing serious staff shortages.

There are currently more than 10,000 doctors working in the NHS who qualified in Europe – 6.6 per cent of the UK medical workforce.

The survey of more than 1,000 European Economic Area-qualified doctors found that many felt “less committed” to working in the UK as a result of the controversial vote on June 23 2016.

Many also reported feeling less appreciated by the Government since the referendum.

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Dr Mark Porter, the BMA’s council chair, said: “While thousands of overseas and EU doctors work across the UK to provide the best possible care for patients, many from the EU are left feeling unwelcome and uncertain about whether they and their families will have the right to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

“These are the people who staff our hospitals and GP surgeries, look after vulnerable patients in the community and conduct vital medical research to help save lives.

“Many have dedicated years of service to healthcare in the UK, so it’s extremely concerning that so many are considering leaving.”

“At a time when the NHS is already at breaking point and facing crippling staff shortages, this would be a disaster and threaten the delivery of high-quality patient care.”

He added that the Government must act now to ensure long-term stability across the healthcare system by “providing certainty” to medical professionals from the EU about their future in this country.

He added: “It must also ensure that a future immigration system allows the NHS to continue employing EU and overseas doctors to fill staff shortages in the health service.”