The National Health Service is suffering a “brain drain” of doctors as more medics trained at taxpayers’ expense choose to pursue their careers overseas, according to Financial Times research.
Most go to Australia or New Zealand, say recruiters and doctors’ organisations, and data suggest more now choose to stay longer or settle permanently.
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Tracking the numbers of medical professionals leaving and returning to the UK is difficult because neither the government nor health industry bodies record that information.
However, the number of certificates of good standing – which the UK’s General Medical Council issues at a doctor’s request and are necessary to take up a post in another country – has risen steadily since records began in 2008. Since then, more than 8,000 people have requested such certificates for Australia and New Zealand alone.
Additionally, the number of Australian permanent visas issued to UK-trained doctors has almost tripled during the past five years, with 645 granted in 2010-11, according to immigration data.
But the lure of an improved lifestyle and better weather, along with higher pay, shorter hours and superior arrangements for professional study, are not the only reasons many are opting for a life abroad.
Many of the young medics have failed to secure jobs in the UK because there are more places in medical schools than jobs available and they are not sufficiently experienced to practise privately.
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