Number of UK-trained doctors outstripped by non-UK graduates for first time

A recent report from the General Medical Council (GMC) has found that the gap between the number of doctors from abroad and UK-trained ones has doubled in a year.

According to the GMC’s workforce report, around 9,100 doctors who were trained abroad joined the medical register in the 12 months to June 2019 compared to just over 8,100 in the preceding 12 months.

The GMC said that abolishing the cap on the number of doctors recruited from outside the European Union was one of the biggest contributory factors to the figures, but it warned that UK healthcare’s reliance on these doctors exacerbated the problem of retention, as they are more likely to leave after a short period of time.

The report, entitled 2019 State of medical education and practice, also found that there are discrepancies between how well GPs feel they can cope with their workload compared with doctors overall.

For example, 50 per cent of GPs said they often feel unable to cope and often work beyond their rostered hours, compared with 26 per cent of other doctors, while just nine per cent of GPs said they ‘always or usually feel able to cope’ while rarely or never working beyond their rostered hours, compared with 29 per cent of doctors overall.

According to the report, GPs were also significantly more likely than other doctors to have reduced their working hours over the past year, with 21 per cent of doctors reducing their hours, compared with 36 per cent of GPs.

The report was published as Health and Social Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that GP trainee recruitment for 2019 had hit record levels. However, a spokesman for the British Medical Association (BMA) said that while this is encouraging, the numbers are still nowhere near enough to meet patient need.