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Brexit: What does it mean for IMGs?

  • February 15, 2019

What is Brexit?

Brexit is an abbreviation of ‘British exit’ – and it is the word used to talk about the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union (EU).

What is the EU?

The EU is a political and economic union of 28 countries which trade with each other and allow citizens to move easily between the countries to live and work.

The UK joined the EU, then known as the EEC (European Economic Community) in1973.

Why is the UK leaving the EU?

On Thursday 23rd June 2016, a referendum was held when voters were asked one question: Should the UK leave or remain in the EU?

The leave vote won by nearly 52% to 48%, which was equivalent to 17.4m votes to 16.1m – but the exit is yet to happen.

IMGs in the NHS stats:

Did you know that 37% of registered doctors gained their primary medical qualification outside of the UK and this rises to 42% for Consultants.

Of every 1,000 NHS staff in England...

873 are British
56 are from other EU countries
43 are Asian
19 are African
9 are from somewhere else…

The most common nationalities of NHS staff:

British – 988, 363
Indian – 19, 142
Filipino – 16, 807
Irish – 13, 132
Polish – 8, 896
Portuguese - 6,899
Nigerian – 5,960
Zimbabwean – 3, 995

What does Brexit mean for international doctors?

Reports reveal that since the UK voted for Brexit, the number of European doctors and nurses relocating to the UK and joining the NHS has declined. So, although we cannot say what the outcome will be post-Brexit, with the current trend of less European doctors joining the NHS – it has led and will continue to lead to a greater demand of non-EU doctors to come and join the NHS.

Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor - here, you will receive regular updates in the form of blogs and vlogs, have the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional guidance and the chance to meet other IMGs!


BBC News. (2019). Brexit: A really simple guide. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2019].

Baker, C. (2019). NHS staff from overseas: statistics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2019].

RCP London. (2019). Brexit: What does it mean for doctors?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Feb. 2019].


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