Tuesday 4 October 2016 by Rob Hearn

Jeremy Hunt promises UK will be a net exporter of doctors by 2019

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Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined plans at the Conservative Party conference to make the UK a net exporter of doctors by March 2019.

While the plans appear ambitious, Hunt argued that headway has already been made with the latest junior doctor contract, which has seen the UK export a record number of doctors to Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Hunt will also aim to fulfil his pledge by increasing the number of training places for doctors in the UK prior to the UK’s formal departure from the EU in March 2019.

Currently, one in four doctors working in the NHS was trained at great expense by another country before being imported by the UK, but Hunt hopes that Brexit will close the door on this highly skilled immigrant workforce, allowing Britain to instead enjoy the phenomenal cost of training its own doctors and preparing them for the export market.

“Thanks to this government’s visionary junior doctor contract and our planned increase in the number of training places,” Hunt said, “I am confident that the NHS will become a buccaneering global trader by 2019, sending away many, many more doctors than it brings in, or indeed produces.

“Of course, this may result in both a catastrophic skills shortage and an insurmountable funding crisis for the NHS by the end of this parliament.

“Which would of course be awful,” Hunt hastily added, before winking pointedly.

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