Scots NHS faces doc Brexodus
Half of EU medics could leave
NEARLY half of Scotland’s doctors from the rest of Europe could leave the country because of Brexit.
Doctors’ leaders yesterday warned of the imminent threat to our health service, which is already struggling to fill consultant and GP posts.
It comes after a UK-wide survey of 1720 doctors who gained their primary medical qualification in another European Economic Area country found that 45 per cent were considering leaving the UK, while 19 per cent had already made plans to go.
In Scotland, 140 EEA-trained doctors responded to the survey, with 34 per cent considering leaving, while 14 per cent had made plans to leave.
BMA Scotland chairman Dr Peter Bennie said: “We have warned for some time that the ongoing uncertainty over the future status of EEA nationals is deeply and needlessly damaging.
“These are our friends and our colleagues and too many of them continue to face uncertainty over what their future will be.
“The NHS in Scotland simply cannot afford to lose the valued contributions that so many doctors from elsewhere in Europe make to it.
“The Scottish Government have been clear that they want to protect the rights of European NHS staff, and this is welcome and appreciated by many, but it is ultimately the Westminster Government who must act before further damage is done.”
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “This survey is a stark reminder of the damage that a hard Brexit will do to our public services.
“It is deeply concerning that so many doctors from across the EEA are considering leaving the UK as a result of Brexit.
“The Scottish Government have committed to financially supporting EU nationals working in our public services, including doctors, to help them obtain settled status in Scotland if that is necessary.
“We continue to call on the UK Government to negotiate for membership of the European single market as the best way to protect our future social and economic prosperity.”
Scottish Labour’s Brexit spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: “The health service have seen a huge benefit from freedom of movement, with an enormous number of EU citizens working in our NHS.
“With the staffing problems that already exist in the Scottish NHS, it is little surprise the BMA Scotland chairman has said we cannot afford to lose the contributions EU staff make to our health service.”
Lib Dem MSP Alex ColeHamilton said: “Thanks to the chaos unleashed by the Conservative Party, talented medics are leaving these shores and heading elsewhere.
“Ruth Davidson has some nerve in campaigning to ‘save GP surgeries’ while her party are directly responsible for stripping them of staff they desperately need.”
I see you’re still here then?