There are real fears that the NHS will “grind to a halt overnight” as there is a lack of European medical students and professionals entering the UK since Brexit.
Professor Malcolm Reed, chairman of The Medical Schools Council said that there is a rising unattractiveness of becoming a doctor.
Speaking to The Times Professor Reed warned that they need an extra 5,000 more places which would bring the total of 14,500 in training.
The Council released a report where they are urgently asking for a 50% increase of students which will cost the taxpayer £1bn as a UK trained medical student costs around £200,000 where as qualified foreign professional entering the UK is free.
He said, “The number of EU staff has largely reduced so for nursing and doctors, we’re even more intensely looking to recruit from traditional options such as South Asian countries and the Philippines.
“These colleagues make amazing contributions to the NHS which would grind to a halt overnight without them and nobody is saying that should end.”
There is a cap on student medical recruitment as medical schools on how many clinical placements there are in hospitals.
Last year hundreds of students were told to delay attending medical school after the A-level grade inflation meaning they took up space on courses this year which meant there was a 14.4% reduction compared to 2019.
Professor Reed said, “It is not that international doctors are not as good as those who qualified in the UK but the question is really whether a highly developed country like the UK should be reliant on other countries for their doctors and nurses.
“Jeremy Hunt said in 2017 that the NHS needed to have a long-term view for the sustainability of doctors.
“This has been stated on a number of occasions but not happened to the extent required.”
He added, “A lot of GPs will say they are increasingly dealing with very complex cases.
“And it’s difficult at the moment for students because the signals they pick up around general practice are very negative.
“The very public criticism of the public conversation about general practice, particularly in relation to issues like face-to-face or remote consultations is very damaging for GPs’ and public confidence.
“While these issues need to be addressed, the nature of these criticisms is very damaging in the short and potentially long term.”