No fewer than 150 Nigerian doctors interested in practising in the United Kingdom are currently waiting to take the clinical examination, the result of which will decide their eligibility to practise in the UK, The PUNCH has learnt.
It was further gathered that the coronavirus pandemic delayed the examination usually conducted by the General Medical Council.
The council is responsible for granting licences to medical doctors in the UK.
The PUNCH had reported that no fewer than 8,384 Nigerian medical doctors were practising in the UK as of June 9, 2021.
But the council’s Senior Media Officer, Miranda Newey, in an e-mail sent to our correspondent, said the figure of Nigerian doctors in the UK would have increased if not for the pandemic.
Newey said, “There have been significant delays for Nigerian doctors taking our clinical examination before gaining registration due to the pandemic. From the information I have here, we have 150 doctors who have been delayed. I hope to get more data to share with you to enable you to do the comparison you want.”
Meanwhile, the National President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, has called on the Federal Government to quickly address the issue of brain drain in the country.
Okhuaihesuyi made the call in an interview with The PUNCH.
He said, “It is normal for us to experience brain drain and I don’t blame the doctors migrating. Look at those of us who have chosen to stay behind. The only way the Federal Government can address this is if it attends to the demands of doctors.
“Look at resident doctors; most of our members are still being owed. If our welfare is of paramount interest, there won’t be a need to migrate.”
Checks by The PUNCH revealed that the average number of Nigeria-trained doctors in the UK rose from an average of 1.3 per day 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 Nigeria- trained doctors were licensed by the UK.
Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.
This is as 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.