Four in 10 young doctors are actively planning to leave the National Health Service as soon as they can find another job, according to a British Medical Association survey.
The survey, published as part of the new year message from BMA board chair Professor Philip Banfield, found that poor pay and working conditions were among the top reasons young doctors wanted to leave.
A third of those who want to leave the NHS plan to work abroad in the next 12 months, with Australia being the first choice of destination.
Banfield warned that the NHS “simply won’t be able to cope” if there was such an exodus of young doctors next year.
His message comes before England’s young doctors are voted into industrial action on January 9. They have faced some of the steepest pay cuts of any public sector worker in the last 15 years, falling by more than a quarter in real terms since 2008-09.
Banfield added: “The situation is serious. One third of young doctors plan to work in another country. Four in 10 say that as soon as they can find another job, they will leave the NHS. The health service simply will not be able to cope.
“For decades the NHS was the envy of the world. But without the expertise of our doctors, the country will get sicker. We will not accept impoverished healthcare for our nation, nor will we condone those who seek to cut wages and reduce living standards for NHS staff. In 2023 we will be together with the patients, an organized workforce ready to act”.
The National Health Service it faces months of disruption early next year with public services union Unison and the Royal College of Nursing intensifying their campaign of strikes in protest against the government’s wage award and refusal to improve it.
The BMA’s survey of young doctors in England, conducted between November and December, received 4,553 responses.
Dr Vivek Trivedi, co-chair of the BMA’s young doctors committee, said the survey results were “very worrying”.
“If our government doesn’t act now, it doesn’t take a genius to see where this will lead: an exodus of young doctors to foreign countries, and those who remain on the NHS face an increasing workload, until they feel that they have no choice but to leave too or burn out.
“If the government wants to ‘move to Australia’ to stay off young doctors’ New Year’s resolution lists this year, it will have to start by reversing the 26% real pay cut they’ve endured since 2008, or at At least at least start talking to us and stop ignoring our repeated calls to address our salary.”
Faced with a growing cost of living crisis, a recent BMA survey found that young doctors were cutting back on food and heating to help make ends meet.
a department of Health and the Social Care spokesperson said: “The health and social care secretary has made it clear that supporting and retaining the NHS workforce is one of his key priorities, and that includes our hard-working young doctors.
“Our multi-year pay agreement with the British Medical Association is increasing the pay of young doctors by a cumulative 8.2% by 2023. We have also invested an additional £90m to provide more experienced young doctors with a higher salary. high, higher allowances for those who work more. frequently on weekends, and higher pay rates for night shifts.
“There are record numbers of staff working in the NHS and we are committed to publishing a comprehensive workforce strategy next year.”