UK closes its doors to foreign doctors

According to the The Times, the National Health System (NHS) is closing its doors to foreign doctors in an attempt to preserve jobs for British graduates.

What is the reason?

Since 1997, the number of medical schools in Britain has doubled. There are now enough home-grown graduates, thus reducing the need to import doctors.

Currently, half of Britain's 277,000 registered doctors were trained overseas. Last year, 10,000 foreign doctors applied for 20,000 posts.

What will happen to the foreign doctors currently in the UK or planning to relocate there?

Many international medical graduates (IMGs) will plan to continue their training in the U.S. or Australia. According to anecdotal evidence, it is much more difficult for the IMGs to find residency positions in the U.S. nowadays due to the influx of competition from Britain. The situation is worse in Australia where IMGs have to wait months just to take the board exams required to start training -- see this recent NEJM article.

NHS closes its doors to foreign doctors
Foreign doctors face competence inquiry
Comment: prejudice against overseas doctors
A Bridge to Nowhere — The Troubled Trek of Foreign Medical Graduates in Australia. NEJM, 01/2008.

A Guide for Doctors Planning to Relocate Abroad. Clinical Cases and Images - Blog.
A good doctor with a "bad" accent? Clinical Cases and Images - Blog.
Image source:, public domain.


  1. While I'm sorry to hear this bad news, thanks for telling us about it.

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