London: A large number of Indian doctors have trained and worked in the UK over the decades, but latest figures show that their numbers have dropped sharply, reflecting tighter immigration controls and better career choices in India.
A report released by the General Medical Council (GMC) today revealed that India continued to provide the largest number of overseas doctors, but the number has reduced considerably from a peak of 3,641 in 2004 to current levels of around 500 a year.
As of 2011, there were 25,592 doctors on GMC`s register who gained medical qualifications in India.
The report, titled `The State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK`, also revealed that during 2011, the greatest number of doctors joining the medical register came from Pakistan (550), India (489), Romania (449), Italy (386) and Greece (365).
"Doctors with a primary medical qualification from India represent the largest group of overseas doctors on the register. However, the number of doctors coming from India has dropped from a peak of 3,641 in 2004 to current levels of around 500 a year", the report said.
"This may reflect changes in immigration rules in the UK, but may also be because the Indian Government is concerned that the country has a shortfall of up to 600,000 doctors. Graduates who pursue higher studies in the US now have to return to work in India for at least two years," it added.
The report also said that doctors who qualified in Pakistan represent the second largest group of doctors on the register, with 8,606 at the end of 2011, and the largest number of doctors joining the register during 2011.