Fact check: Did the number of Nigerian doctors practicing in the UK increased to 7,875 in a week?

Nigerian doctors

There is news going viral that the number of Nigerian doctors in the United Kingdom increased to  7,875 in a week, however, this is not only far from the truth but sensational.

According to the UK’s General Medical Council, UK’s official register of medical practitioners, said India, Pakistan and Nigeria are the countries with the highest number of doctors practicing in the UK.

However, the total number of Nigerian doctors practicing in the UK as at this week is are 7,875, that number only increased by five (5), which means the total number a week ago was 7,870.

This number could have increased significantly if some Nigerian doctors were allowed to leave the country. Earlier this month, the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, said it stopped about 58 Nigerian doctors from flying to the UK after it was discovered they had no entry visas.

According to Saharareporters, GMC’s record further shows that India has 29,228 doctors in the UK, while Pakistan comes second with a total number of 14,470. Nigeria comes third with 7,875 doctors practicing in the UK.

According to statistics obtained from the UK council’s website, Nigeria is an African country with the highest number of doctors in the UK. Egypt comes second with 7,034 registered doctors in the UK, while South Africa has the third-highest African representation with 5,166.

Findings by The PUNCH indicate that Pakistan and Nigeria have the highest number of doctors in the UK in relation to the total number of doctors at home.

Currently, there are 74,543 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. With 7,875 of these doctors practicing in the UK, it means 10.5 percent of doctors registered to practice in Nigeria are in the UK alone.

India, which has over 29, 228 doctors in the UK, has over 10 million doctors at home. This means less than 0.3 percent of Indian doctors are in the UK while for Pakistan, 11.2 percent of its 127,859 are in the UK.


Nigeria stops 58 doctors from going to the UK

In an email chat with The PUNCH last weekend, the Media Relations Manager of the GMC, Steve Broughton, said Nigerians, who were trained in other countries but relocated to the UK, were not part of the 7,870.

Broughton said, “The data explorer pages on our website will show you the number of doctors on the UK register who gained their primary medical qualification in Nigeria. Currently, the number is 7,870.

“That may include doctors who qualified in Nigeria but who are not from Nigeria. And there may be Nigerian doctors on the register who qualified elsewhere.”

Statistics from the World Health Organisation show that Nigeria currently has a shortage of medical doctors with a physician-to-patient ratio of four doctors to 10,000 patients. In the US, the ratio is 26 doctors per 10,000 people and 28 in the UK.

A search through the website of the UK medical council reveals that the UK has 205, 814 locally trained doctors. This is apart from the over 70,000 doctors that migrate from other countries to practise in the UK.


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