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RCEM welcomes the GMC’s report into the UK medical workforce

18 October 2022

Responding to the General Medical Council’s report The state of medical education and practice in the UK: The Workforce report 2022, Dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:

“We pleased to see the GMC report into the medical workforce and the valuable insight it offers. We welcome the increasing diversity of the UK medical workforce, with over 42% of doctors coming from an ethnic minority background and that two thirds of UK medical students in 2021/2022 were female. We also welcome the growth of specialty and associate specialist and locally employed doctors. It is crucial that we value these doctors and ensure they have the opportunity to develop and progress in their career. While this report is welcome, the government must commit to a proper, fully funded long-term NHS workforce plan.

“The report details that Emergency Medicine was the fastest growing specialty, with workforce growth of 26% between 2017 and 2021. While this growth is healthy and exceeds the growth of other specialties, there are still significant gaps in our workforce. The report does not make any mention of the numbers of doctors who are now working less than full-time, while the headcount in Emergency Medicine has increased, the whole-time equivalent numbers have not increased nearly as much. There is also a significant amount of work to be done to make Emergency Medicine more diverse. The report shows that over 65% of trainees in Emergency Medicine were white, and Emergency Medicine is listed as having one of the lowest proportions of female trainees.

“We welcome the increase in the number of international medical graduates to our workforce here in the UK and we value and welcome their core contribution to our health system. We must ensure that international medical graduates are properly supported and inducted when they start working in the NHS. We must ensure international recruitment is ethical. That means making sure medical graduates from low- to low middle-income countries have the opportunity to return to their home countries where their patients and colleagues can benefit from the training, development and skills they acquire in the NHS. It is also vital that we further increase the number of medical school places.”

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