A job shortage is threatening to drive more than 5,000 junior doctors abroad, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned.
More than 20,000 doctors are expected to apply for training posts before Christmas, but only 9,500 positions have been confirmed. A BMA survey has shown that 55% of junior doctors would consider going overseas if they failed to secure a post.
The government has reformed the way doctors train after medical school. Instead of a year as a house officer and then two to five years as a senior house officer, doctors go on a two-year foundation scheme before taking a specialist training post.
The first training posts are due to be advertised in November, but the BMA believes the reforms should be put back until more jobs can be created.
The BMA says the exodus of doctors could cost taxpayers £1.4bn in wasted training.
Dr Jo Hilborne, of the BMA junior doctors’ committee, said: “Medical training does need to be reformed – but not at the price of an exodus from the NHS.
“It would be a terrible waste of talent and taxpayers’ money if any doctor abandoned the profession simply because the government stuck to an arbitrary timetable.”