200 fresh Nigerian doctors in UK swell list to 8,384

The General Medical Council which licenses and maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom licensed at least 200 Nigerian doctors in April and May alone, The PUNCH has learnt.

This implies that at least three Nigerian doctors were licensed per day in April and May 2021 despite a new policy by the UK government in February to discourage the aggressive recruitment of doctors from 47 developing countries facing a shortage of doctors at home, including Nigeria.

The PUNCH correspondent, who has monitored the website of the GMC in the last 10 months, observed that the number of Nigerian trained doctors practising in the UK rose to 8,384 from 7,870, a difference of 514.

Checks by The PUNCH showed that the average number of Nigerian trained doctors in the UK rose from an average of 1.3 per day in between July and December 2020 to 3.3 per day in April and May 2021.

Between June 7 and June 8, 2020 – a space of 24 hours – about seven Nigerian trained doctors were licensed by the UK.

Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.

However, Nigeria suffers a shortage of doctors.

The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria puts the total number of registered doctors in Nigeria at 74,543 for the country’s population of about 200 million.

This puts the doctor-patient ratio in the country at 1:3,500.

This falls far below the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 1:600.

A poll by NOI in 2018 also showed that 88 per cent of Nigerian doctors are considering work opportunities abroad, but experts say the figure may be higher due to the rising insecurity and economic crunch.

Other popular destinations for Nigeria trained doctors include United States, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

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