Health Professions

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 29th January 2019.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of (a) doctors and (b) nurses that completed training (a) no longer work in the NHS and (b) work abroad in the last year for which information is available; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Doctors can choose to leave the United Kingdom and work abroad at any point during their training or career.

The UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) undertakes an annual survey of doctors in the UK before they complete their two years of foundation training. It shows doctor’s career intentions for immediately after their foundation training. This is the only source of comprehensive data on this subject.

The latest UKFPO Careers Destination report can be found at the following link:

The results show that, for those not going on to work in the National Health Service immediately after foundation training:

- Around 6% of the respondents (400) intended to practice overseas immediately after completing their foundation training. This has decreased from 11-12% in 2015 and 2016.

- Around 32% of the respondents (2,200) either:

- intended to go onto further study or work as doctors in non-NHS settings (10%);

- intended to take a career break (14%);

- intended to leave the profession (0.6%); and

- were still looking for employment at the time of the survey (7%).


Many of the respondents are expected to return to the NHS in the next three years. Published research from the General Medical Council showed that over 88% of the doctors who finished foundation training in 2014 entered the NHS within three years.

The Department does not hold data on the number of nursing graduates in England who secured employment as nurses in the NHS. It does not hold data on the numbers who went to work abroad.

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