NHS faces mass exodus of junior doctors
Thousands of junior doctors are planning to walk away from their NHS jobs, a new poll suggests.
A survey revealed that 40% of junior doctors plan to leave the health service as soon as they can find another role.
Pay and poor working conditions were the main reasons cited for wanting to leave, according to the British Medical Association (BMA) poll.
The BMA warned that the NHS “would not be able to cope” without two fifths of its junior doctor workforce.
Last week, doctors in Wales confirmed they are considering going on strike for the first time over their current pay and conditions.
Almost two-thirds of hospital doctors surveyed by the union this month said they would be willing to take some form of industrial action, including strikes, over their current situation.
The BMA’s Welsh Council chairwoman, Iona Collins, called the result of the survey “upsetting to all” and said it is “gut-wrenching for doctors to consider walking away from work”.
She added: “Without action now, patients will continue to suffer as a direct consequence of an under-funded NHS with insufficient direct clinical care.”
Just under 1,000 doctors in Wales responded to the questionnaire seeking views on the latest pay award from the Welsh Government of 4.5%, with 78% of those who answered saying they want a pay rise that matched or exceeded inflation.
A previous survey undertaken by the BMA in August found that 52% of members who responded were more likely to leave the Welsh NHS as a result of the below inflation pay rise.
Meanwhile, a third (33%) of the 4,500 junior doctors in England surveyed said they were planning to work in another country in the next year.
Australia and New Zealand were the top destinations for those planning to emigrate.
It comes ahead of an industrial action ballot of junior doctors in England, which will open on Monday 9 January.
BMA chair of council, Professor Phil Banfield, said: “The situation is severe.
“A third of junior doctors are planning to work in another country. Four in ten say that as soon as they can find another job, they will leave the NHS.
“The health service will simply not be able to cope.
“For decades the NHS was the envy of the world. But without our doctors’ expertise, the country will get sicker.
“We will not accept impoverished healthcare for our nation, or acquiesce to those looking to slash pay and drive down living standards for NHS staff.
“In 2023 we will stand together with patients, an organised workforce ready to act.”
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