AS many as 3,000 medics are estimated to have left the country to work abroad since 2008, it is claimed.

Today’s figures were obtained from the General Medical Council and show the number of doctors who have requested a Certificate of Current Professional Status – the document required by medics who choose to work abroad under a new employer.

HeraldScotland:

Since 2008, 5,044 have done so. The two highest years were the two most recent competed years, 2015 and 2016, when 663 and 612 doctors requested a CCPS.

Of those that applied, 2,149 are connected to a ‘designated body’ – meaning they are likely to still be practicing in Scotland.

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The remainder, some 2,895 Scottish trained doctors, are not – and are therefore almost certain to be working abroad.

The Scottish Conservatives, who compiled the analysis, will this week be writing to every GP clinic in Scotland, and is urging an increase in the share of NHS funding that goes direct to GP practices.

It claims GPs are particularly affected by doctor shortages – with the Royal College of GPs warning that Scotland will soon be short of 850 general practitioners.

The call for action to boost the flow of doctors in the NHS comes with BMA figures suggesting that as many as a third of GPs – some 1,500 doctors – are set to retire by 2020.

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It was claimed that the Scottish Government has sought to boost GP recruitment but, last year, a major drive to find an extra 100 GPs resulted in only 37 coming on board.

The new data is revealed as the Scottish Conservatives launch a new campaign called Save our Surgeries.

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative health spokesman, said: “These figures show that as many as 3,000 Scottish trained doctors are currently working abroad - setting out starkly the brain drain we have seen in Scotland over the last decade."

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A spokesman for Shona Robison, Scottish Health Secretary, was reported as saying: “Funding for GP’s will increase by £250m by the end of this parliament as part of our overall commitment to increase primary care funding by £500m.”