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GMC chief calls for action to halt doctors quitting NHS

  • Date: 29 November 2022
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  • 2 minute read

NEARLY 10,000 doctors gave up their licence to practise last year and action is needed now to stop this “senseless waste” of talent, said General Medical Council (GMC) Chief Executive Charlie Massey.

He was speaking recently at the NHS Providers conference in Liverpool and warned against continuing to allow the NHS to “haemorrhage talent” as doctors sought opportunities outside the UK.

He cited new GMC research into doctors’ migration which identified pull factors, such as the pursuit of new opportunities and adventure abroad, alongside push factors, including poor working conditions, wellbeing issues and inflexible career paths. The survey found that around half the doctors who give up their licence to practise in the UK each year are thought to be intending to continue their medical careers abroad.

Charlie Massey told NHS Providers: "What this research tells us is that many doctors are not leaving UK practice because they have fallen out of love with medicine. Instead, it is because they can’t tolerate the environments in which it is practised. The problem is not their work, it is their workplace.

"This is a senseless waste of talent, not least because these issues are preventable. With a focus on compassionate, supportive cultures, they can be put right. This will not only improve doctors’ wellbeing, but also their productivity. Happier workers are better workers, and they deliver better results."

Massey believes that jobs should allow doctors to make made the most of their talents and grow their skills. He said recent proposals from GMC on reforming rules so doctors in non-training roles can work in primary care a good first step.

Read the full text of Charlie Massey's speech to NHS Providers.

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