In response to the announcement by Health Secretary Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP today that new doctors could be forced to work in the NHS for at least five years, or pay back some of their training costs, UKIP’s NHS Champion Suzanne Evans said: "The UK is a net exporter of physicians compared to its English-speaking OECD counterparts, so yes, the government urgently needs to address the problem of doctors leaving the UK. But this isn’t the right way to go about it. Once again, the Tories have tried to rip off another UKIP policy, but in creating their own version have got it spectacularly wrong.
"In our 2015 General Election manifesto, we adopted a ‘carrot’ approach, whereby doctors would not have to repay their student tuition fees provided they worked in the NHS and paid tax for at least five years after they complete their studies. Hunt’s ‘stick’ approach is only going to make those doctors who become dissatisfied with their work – for understandable reasons – feel even less appreciated.
"5,000 doctors consider moving to Australia or New Zealand every year, and around 1500 of them actually do leave, because they want a better work–life balance, and an end to the low morale they experience in our currently overstretched NHS. Hunt should be addressing these issues, not threatening doctors with huge financial penalties before they’ve even qualified."