Brexit and the European National Health Service England Workforce: A Quantitative Analysis of Doctors' Perceived Professional Impact and Intentions to Leave the United Kingdom
Background: Although survey data suggest that Brexit has negatively influenced European doctors' decisions to remain in the United Kingdom, this is the first quantitative study to use multivariate analysis to explore this relationship. Objective: To assess how Brexit relates to doctors' migration intentions in relation to their feelings that Brexit has impacted their professional life, national identity, and demographic factors. Method: We collected data from 59 self-reported EU/EEA/European identifying doctors working in the UK. We weighted results to the English National Health Service population in terms of gender, professional grade level and ethnicity and ran weighted regression analyses of respondents' plans (leaving, considering, not considering) and whether they reported Brexit influencing their decision-making. We then examined how stating that Brexit affected their career, national identity, and sex and age related to doctors' intentions to leave or stay. Findings: The more doctors agreed that Brexit had impacted their professional lives, the more likely they were to state they intended to leave the UK. We found doctors with increased levels of British identity less likely to leave than those with reduced British identity. Interestingly, we found that those with higher levels of European identity were less likely to leave but more sharply likely to consider leaving compared to those with lower levels of European identity. Conclusions: Respondents reported large professional impacts of Brexit. To retain these individuals in the British medical system, the NHS should provide financial and legal assistance for those applying for settled status and financial and other incentives comparable to what doctors could receive in EU health systems.