This site is intended for health professionals only

BMA warns of a possible exodus of future doctors

Junior doctors could be leaving on a jet plane to pursue their medical careers outside England following the dispute over their new contract.

Eight out of ten medical students said they were more likely to pursue their medical career outside the UK, according to the British Medical Association (BMA), which warned of a possible exodus of future doctors.

The BMA surveyed medicals students in England about their feelings about their future career in the light of the current dispute with the government's new contract.

Eight out of 10 of them said they were less likely to work in England and seven out of 10 said they might pack their bags and look for work in the NHS in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales instead.

The BMA said nine out of 10 of the 1,197 students who responded were less enthusiastic about working for the NHS in England  because of the impact of the imposition of the new contract in August.

Charlie Bell (pictured), co-chairman of the medical student's committee said: “The imposition of this contract has been immensely damaging to the morale of junior doctors and medical students, and has put the future of the medical workforce at risk.”

According to the survey 82% of students thought the NHS was a less inclusive employer and the current dispute meant the majority of respondents were less enthusiastic about contemplating working for the NHS.

'The fact that students are considering abandoning medicine altogether or working outside the NHS in England shows how far ministers have eroded the trust of the future generation of doctors.

“Almost every medical student surveyed said they were less enthusiastic about working in the NHS, if we lose a generation of doctors our already over-stretched health service will be unable to cope and patient care will inevitably suffer,” warned Bell.

Responding to the survey a Department of Health spokesman said:"There is no evidence to suggest doctors are leaving the profession. As initial figures show, a similar number of training places have been filled this year compared to last and there are still two more recruitment rounds to go.

“Medicine remains an attractive career proposition - the new contract is a good deal for junior doctors with an average 13.5% basic pay rise and stronger safeguards to limit the maximum number of hours worked.”