This is one of the many negative consequences of leaving Europe. Brexit has exacerbated the shortage of doctors in the UK, leading to a shortage of about 4,000 doctors from the European Union across four major specialties, according to a study published on Sunday by a health think tank.
This study, initiated by The Guardian daily newspaper, is published at a time when the public health system (NOS) is suffering from many difficulties after years of austerity, with record waiting lists in hospitals due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to shortage of doctors and nurses.
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The Nuffield Trust considered four specialties – anesthesia, pediatrics, cardiothoracic surgery and psychiatry – in which European physicians were particularly represented before the UK left the EU. In these four occupations, already experiencing hiring pressures, “employment growth from the EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, namely Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, has slowed down,” the study shows.
Visas, traffic rules, working conditions…
If the pre-Brexit trend had continued, more than 41,000 doctors from the EU and EFTA should have been registered in 2021, at least 4,000 more than it actually was. For Nuffield Trust, “the campaign and the outcome of the (2016) referendum to leave the EU are the clear reason for this reversal.”
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In question: first, the uncertainty with the new rules for the movement of people, then the tightening of the rules for issuing visas, and, finally, the “deterioration of working conditions” in general in the healthcare system.
“These results suggest that the stagnation in the number of doctors in these specialties from the EU has exacerbated the existing shortage in areas where NOS cannot find skilled labor elsewhere,” the minister adds.