Hunt backs 'green list' system to boost overseas GP recruitment

Former health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for a ‘green list’ system to make it easier for overseas GPs to join the UK workforce and help solve the NHS recruitment crisis.

Person using laptop
Complex application process (Photo: Marko Geber/Getty Images)

Mr Hunt, who chairs the House of Commons health and social care select committee, said that a green list would apply to countries with strong medical training and reduce bureaucracy for fully-qualified recruits from overseas.

‘My personal view is that we should have a green list of countries, like Canada and Germany, that have high quality medical training. There’s no need for doctors from places like Germany and Canada to jump through hoops when we have a staffing crisis at the moment,’ he told GPonline.

Currently GPs from overseas need GMC approval to work in the UK. This means they must submit up to 1,000 pages of evidence to support an application to join the UK medical register.

GP workforce

Mr Hunt’s remarks came as the select committee published a report that warned the number of full-time equivalent GPs fell by more than 700 over three years to March 2022, despite a government pledge to increase the workforce by 6,000.

BMA deputy chair Dr Emma Runswick said the report illustrated the workforce emergency and was a ‘damning indictment’ of a government that had failed to take any meaningful action on workforce issues - and called for more support for overseas doctors to work in the UK.

‘Bureaucratic barriers for our talented international colleagues seeking to practise here should be removed and support increased,’ Dr Runswick said.

GMC registration

A government report in 2020 on 'busting bureaucracy' promised the DHSC would 'work with the GMC to simplify the international registration process'.

It said: 'Specialist doctors, including GPs, from outside of the UK wanting to work in the NHS currently need to submit up to 1,000 pages of evidence to support an application to join the UK register.

'Legislative reforms will reduce this by granting GMC freedom to move from a one-size-fits-all approach to the development of different registration routes that assure the same standards, making the process more adaptable to an individual’s knowledge, experience and skills.'

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