Several hundred overseas doctors are considering walking out on Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) over rising visa fees and healthcare prices, the Guardian reports.

Over 500 medics have told EveryDoctor—an organisation campaigning for better treatment of the medical profession—that working for the NHS without British or EU citizenship entails prohibitive costs.

The Royal College of Physicians calculated a non-EU doctor, under the present tier two system, must pay £4,409 excluding taxes to practice for three years.

Conservative party pledges in 2017 would push that sum, discounting inflationary costs, to £8,609 by 2020.

Non-EU medics must purchase sponsorship certificates, pay visa fees, additional charges to secure healthcare for themselves and family, and an Immigration Skills Charge.

Last January, the “immigration health surcharge”—which overseas doctors must pay to receive NHS care—doubled from £200 to £400.

The government said this would raise £220 million in funds for the budget-stricken NHS, since General Medical Council registers show over one in four doctors are non-EU nationals.

But, with over 100,000 positions vacant, the NHS is already significantly understaffed.

Will increasing fees for foreign medics provide cash to hire more staff—or discourage them from pursuing careers in the UK?

Should working for a country’s national health service grant you free care within that service?


Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.