General practice must be added to shortage occupation list, say LMCs

LMCs have called on the GPC to push for general practice to be added to the UK shortage occupation list to help practices struggling with long-term vacancies recruit GPs from overseas.

Delegates approved a motion at the LMCs conference urging the UK Visa Bureau to add general practice to the UK shortage occupation list so they can employ doctors from outside of the EEA to fill vacancies.

Proposing the motion, Dr Henry Akpabio from Redbridge LMC said many occupations – including nurses, paramedics, artists, dancers, choreographers, musicians and chefs – are already on the list.

Other medical specialties, including emergency medicine and psychiatry, are also already on the list, he said.

GP workforce

He told the conference: ‘This list is an official list of occupations for which there is not enough resident workers. Employers who wish to recruit outside of the EEA and Switzerland have to go through this list to see whether that vacancy is approved so that they can issue a certificate of occupation.

‘We want general practice on the list because it meets all the requirements. We have a diminishing workforce and more and more are retiring earlier due to the present workload, so we need to employ people from other places.’

GPC’s Dr Mark Sanford-Wood said the GPC had already pushed for this and ‘would very warmly welcome you supporting this to empower us’ in negotiations.

GPonline reported in March that the full-time equivalent GP workforce had dropped by 445 in the three months to December.

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