Brexit woes: One in five European NHS doctors considering leaving the UK

Survey of 1720 doctors reveals

One in five EU doctors in the NHS has made plans to leave the UK as a result of the Brexit vote last summer, a poll by the British Medical Association (BMA) has found.

The findings come amid BMA and other NHS groups asking the Government to confirm EU nationals’ right to remain after Britain officially exits the EU. The government has, however, not given a clarification yet amid fear of weakening its negotiating position with Brussels.

Around 1,720 doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA) responded to the survey, nearly 15 per cent of the 12,000 currently working in the NHS, with almost half of these (45 per cent) saying they are considering leaving.

But of those eyeing the exit, 18 per cent of the total, said they have actually started making plans to leave and were considering where to relocate.

The BMA has said that 12,000 EEA nationals make up 7.7 per cent of the NHS doctor workforce and are “vital” to ensuring that the health service can provide high-quality, reliable and safe patient care.

The EEA covers the EU and other states signed up to freedom of movement, which Britain is set to abandon post Brexit.

Urging the government of guaranteeing permanent residence rights for EU doctors and medical researchers, as well as a flexible future immigration system, BMA treasurer Andrew Dearden said: “That so many EU doctors are actively planning to leave the UK is a cause for real concern…We need clarity on what the future holds for EU citizens and their families living in the UK, and an end to the uncertainty and insecurity that could see many voting with their feet.”

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