THOUSANDS of doctors may have to leave the country to avoid unemployment, says the British Medical Association.
It said about 21,000 junior doctors would be forced to compete for 9,500 training posts in England in 2007, under Government plans.
The warning comes after the BMA learned that only 9,500 posts would be available when the post of senior house officer is phased out.
The BMA's Junior Doctors Committee said senior house officers, doctors emerging from new foundation programmes and international medical graduates would be forced to compete for jobs.
It said the Government had not confirmed what would happen to those who did not get jobs.
Some may have the option to move into `non-training' posts, which would essentially put their development on hold.
But a BMA survey found that most would prefer to train overseas than take up a non-training post in the UK.