Responding to the GMC's report on the state of medical education and practice in the UK, Professor Derek Bell OBE, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

This is a detailed report by the GMC, which examines a range of issues relating to the UK medical workforce. It’s worrying that the number and proportion of doctors leaving the workforce in 2017 was approximately a fifth higher than in 2012, and we note that the number of doctors over 50 leaving the profession was higher than the number of UK and EEA graduates in 2012. This is highly significant, and we share the concerns of the GMC and other medical royal colleges about this.

The GMC reinforce what the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh have been highlighting for years – that rota gaps in the UK are a major challenge for the medical workforce. In June 2018, we jointly published the UK-wide annual physicians’ report, Focus on Physicians, which found that more than half of all consultants and two thirds of doctors in training reported frequent gaps in the rotas for doctors undergoing training.

While recruitment into medicine is vital, the UK Government and devolved administrations must pay equal attention to retention and training, and ensure that doctors’ reasons for leaving are taken seriously, and are properly addressed. Doctors must be made to feel welcomed and valued in our NHS, and they must be given time to train, research, and teach. It’s simply unreasonable to expect doctors to work under current conditions and pressures. Their wellbeing and work-life balance is being put under strain to their detriment, and to the detriment of their patients, especially as winter approaches.


1. The state of medical education and practice in the UK:

Paul Gillen

Contact: Paul Gillen 0131 247 3658