As the UK Parliament continues discussions to determine our future relationship with the European Union, our Director of Strategy and Policy, Paul Buckley, explains the steps we’ve been taking to ensure that we’re prepared for the outcome – whether deal, or no deal.

In these uncertain times, we’ve been working hard to plan and prepare for whatever outcome we might face.

Since the referendum in 2016, our main priority has been on securing legislation to ensure doctors will still be able to work and register to practice in the UK post Brexit, and that we’ll have the processes in place for them to do that. We’ve also been liaising closely with our partners across the health sector to make sure these plans are workable and so that we can continue to support doctors, and protect patients, in the way we do now.

Maintaining and supporting our medical workforce

There are over 22,000 doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA) on the UK medical register; and around 2,000 join for the first time every year. Our health services depend on these skilled and dedicated professionals to care for patients across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It’s vital that we all do everything in our power, to attract and retain these doctors, to ensure that they can continue their important work in the NHS.

Earlier this year the UK parliament passed legislation providing much needed reassurance that relevant European qualifications* will continue to be recognised, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Any EEA doctor already holding provisional or full registration in the UK will continue to be able to practise as they do now. The legislation also means that prospective applicants with these qualifications will also still be able to register with us in a timely and streamlined way.

Helping with your questions or concerns

However, we know that there’ll be questions about the impact of these new arrangements on registration, and on doctors who want to practice in the UK. So, teams across the GMC have been working hard to ensure we’re ready; that we have advice and guidance in place, and that we’re able to quickly update and share information on our website in the event of no deal.

Aside from registration, some wider issues have been raised about the possible impact of Brexit. We will, of course, be ready to support doctors depending on the circumstances at the time.

Clinicians and patients can also get information and advice from those responsible for our health services across the UK:

We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and provide as much information as we can, when we can, on our Brexit page.

*Doctors with qualifications listed under Annex V of the Recognition of Professional Qualifications directive.