More British Born Doctors Announced At The Conservative Party Conference

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced at the Birmingham Tory Party Conference that “by the end of the next Parliament, we will make the NHS self-sufficient in doctors”.  The move for more British born doctors will contract junior doctors to 4 years after qualification or they will be forced to repay the cost of medical school if they move into private practice or abroad.  It is hoped that it will encourage the concept of “giving back”.

The Government has pledged to train an extra 1500 more British born doctors at a cost of £100 million from 2018.  The Times Newspaper reports that trained doctors cost the tax payer £220,000.  Currently, almost half of the applicants for medical training are turned away each year.   It was announced that this should increase student doctors to 7500.  It will create 25% more medical school places, and will cost an estimated £100 million over this Parliament.  This is balanced against the annual cost of employing agency staff, estimated at 1.2 billion.

Twenty five percent of England’s 110,000 doctors are from overseas with over 150 countries employed on wards.

Post Brexit it is indicated that EU nationals will be able to stay, but the drive is to create home grown talent and more British born doctors.  The plans have ignited another argument with the British Medical Association. This announcement comes in the wake of the arguments over work and the “7 day week”. Mr Hunt hopes to counter the argument that there are not enough doctors with this proposal.  The BMA have warned that forcing demotivated staff to stay would be bad for patients. Currently, home grown talent is tempted to emigrate largely to New Zealand or Australia who offer more favourable working hours.

At the moment, the English and clinical skills of EU doctors coming to Britain are unchecked and language skills are essential in understanding symptoms, diagnosis and providing proper care.  It is hoped that this might reduce the incidence of clinical negligence owing to communication failure and consistent skills and standards.

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Leonie Millard

About Leonie Millard

Leonie is a Partner within the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Department at Forbes Solicitors. Leonie’s blogs cover her specialism in clinical negligence, especially in relation to birth injuries. She also covers cases against hospital Trusts, GP's, dentists and private practices.
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