Is there a doctor in the house? This could be the question on everyone’s lips after Brexit, East of England MEP Alex Mayer has warned.
Ms Mayer met Gamlingay GP Dr. Hubetus von Blumenthal on Friday 7 March, at Greensands Medical Practice, Gamlingay to discuss the findings of a British Medical Association survey which shows that 60% of doctors trained in Europe would consider quitting Britain after Brexit. The MP and doctor are deeply concerned about what this could mean for Cambridgeshire patients.
Dr Von Blumenthal, who qualified in Europe, is one of 10,000 doctors who work in the NHS. EU doctors currently make up 6.6 per cent of the UK medical workforce.
Even with EU doctors like Dr Von Blumenthal working across Cambridgeshire, there are over 200 Cambridgeshire doctor vacancies being advertised on www.indeed.co.uk. The BMA say surgeries and hospitals cannot fill one third of all UK medical vacancies. This has sparked fears that if EU doctors leave, the NHS will be plunged into a severe personnel crisis.
Ms. Mayer said: “Our NHS is already at breaking point. Now doctors who are EU citizens are feeling unappreciated and unwelcome. The government needs to take action now to reassure them rather than use them as bargaining chips.
"Medicine is an international profession. European co-operation in research, on the development, of new medicines and doctors able to work across the continent has brought great benefits to our NHS.
"An exodus of European doctors could end up with our NHS on life support."
Dr. Blumenthal said “Having worked within the NHS for the past 26 years I am not only concerned and worried how Brexit will impact on EU citizens like me living in the UK, but also how the NHS will be affected.
“Some GP practices are completely reliant on GPs trained elsewhere. Currently NHS England is actively recruiting GPs from other EU countries, emphasising the dire situation in Primary Care, where the loss of a single doctor may lead to the collapse of a whole Practice.
“It is quite insulting that this government thinks they can treat EU citizens as 'bargaining chips' in their negotiations over Brexit. We need workable suggestions and practical solutions which will answer the concerns of those EU citizens living in this country, not hollow platitudes.”