How GPs reacted to Jeremy Hunt's plan to cut NHS reliance on overseas doctors

Many GPs have voiced their anger at health secretary Jeremy Hunt's plans to cut NHS reliance on doctors trained outside the UK, and plans for mandatory four-year NHS service for medical graduates. GPonline looks at some of the reaction on Twitter.

Senior GPs including former RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada warned that forcing doctors to work in the NHS was likely to backfire. Read GPonline coverage of Mr Hunt's Conservative party conference speech here.

But the health secretary's plans to cut back NHS reliance on doctors trained outside the UK and make the NHS 'self-sufficient' in workforce terms drew the strongest criticism, with some Twitter users suggesting the government was failing to acknowledge the vital service many overseas doctors have given the NHS.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon hit out at 'arrogance' from the UK government over comments that doctors trained outside the UK would be 'allowed' to remain until the UK could produce enough doctors itself to run the NHS.

GPonline coverage of workforce data from NHS Digital revealed the extent to which the NHS relies on GPs trained outside the UK.

Meanwhile, GPC policy lead for education, workforce and training Dr Krishna Kasaraneni said: 'GP recruitment has not hit the target consistently for nearly a decade. There are currently hundreds of vacancies making a mockery of government’s aim to recruit an additional 5,000 GPs by 2020.

'GP workload is increasing at dramatic rates and funding has dropped disproportionately over the last few years. Yet, rather than addressing the root causes of this recruitment crisis, the government wants to force medical graduates to stay working in the NHS, a proposal which can only have a negative impact on morale.

'The government needs to invest in general practice, decrease the bureaucratic workload and make general practice an attractive career for the next generation of doctors. Forcing doctors to stay in the health service when they want to gain experience elsewhere, for example, will not address this recruitment and retention crisis, nor is it be in the best interests of patient care.'

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