International GP recruitment scheme signs up 58 doctors in two years

Just 58 doctors have joined the international GP recruitment programme in more than two years since the GP Forward View promised to bring in more primary care doctors from outside the UK.

GP consultation (Photo: iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages)
GP consultation (Photo: iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages)

Figures from NHS England show that 58 doctors recruited via the international GP recruitment programme have started work across England in pilot sites in Lincolnshire, Essex and Cumbria. A further 68 doctors have applied in the Humber Coast and Vale pilot, but can only start work if they are formally accepted into the scheme.

The 58 doctors currently signed up to the international recruitment programme represent just 3% of the total 2,000 GPs that NHS England has pledged to recruit from outside the UK by 2020.

The GP Forward View first set out plans for an international recruitment scheme in 2016, promising 500 GPs by 2020 - but this target was quadrupled last summer, in what the BMA called a 'clear admission' that the government's GP recruitment drive was failing.

Read more
>
Will recruiting overseas GPs help tackle the workforce crisis?
>
First international GP recruits to start work in September

NHS England promised to 'start to recruit' 600 doctors in 2017/18, but then appeared to backtrack with board papers published in February 2018 spelling out that it expected 100 GPs to be recruited by the end of March 2018.

Meanwhile, the first doctors recruited via the expanded international recruitment programme aren’t expected to start work until September 2018. NHS England is unable to say how many doctors this will involve.

Workforce crisis

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline: ‘While any new GP joining the workforce is to be welcomed, we clearly need far more than so far recruited to be able to make a difference for practices who are struggling to manage their workload because of the current workforce crisis.

‘As Jeremy Hunt recently observed, recruiting more GPs is harder than the government thought and the root problem is insufficient funding invested in general practice. This is what must be addressed in the forthcoming NHS long-term funding plan.’

NHS England also said that they have appointed agencies to help drive GP recruitment in EEA countries.

Earlier this month, health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted the government was ‘struggling’ to achieve the overall target of recruiting 5,000 extra GPs by 2020/21.

The figures from the international recruitment scheme come as GP leaders welcomed reports that the government could lift the cap on tier 2 visa applications for doctors and nurses - a move that could stop potential NHS recruits from outside the UK being denied the ability to apply for work.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Party manifestos offer 'too little too late' on NHS pension tax crisis

Party manifestos offer 'too little too late' on NHS pension tax crisis

Political parties are offering 'too little too late' in their manifestos over the...

GPs report rising workload linked to record hospital waiting times

GPs report rising workload linked to record hospital waiting times

Eight in 10 GPs say rising waits for NHS hospital treatment have driven up workload...

Viewpoint: 'Why the RCGP should not adopt a neutral stance on assisted dying'

Viewpoint: 'Why the RCGP should not adopt a neutral stance on assisted dying'

The RCGP is currently surveying members for their views on assisted dying. In response...

Hurried GP consultations 'a scandal', RCGP chair warns

Hurried GP consultations 'a scandal', RCGP chair warns

Hurried consultations in general practice are 'a scandal that needs to be named'...

GMC labels overseas GP registration 'unfit for purpose' as British doctor denied work

GMC labels overseas GP registration 'unfit for purpose' as British doctor denied work

The GMC has labelled the system for registering overseas doctors as 'unfit for purpose'...

Which parts of England are facing a GP retirement timebomb?

Which parts of England are facing a GP retirement timebomb?

In parts of England more than 40% of the GP workforce in permanent roles is aged...