UK-qualified would-be GPs 'will be safe in 2009'

UK-qualified would-be GPs can expect to be safe in 2009 from the pressure on training places caused by the DoH's repeated failure to restrict the access of immigrant doctors to training.

Current DoH guidance to employers has been ruled unlawful by the House of Lords, leaving an estimated 10-12,000 overseas doctors on the government's Highly Skilled Migrants Programme. These doctors can compete with UK graduates for training places.

Chairman of the Commons Health select committee Kevin Barron, MP, said this ‘embarrassing problem' must be addressed ‘as a matter of urgency'.

But the National GP Recruitment Office (NGPRO) said that GP applicants have seen little impact in 2008 and would see little in 2009.

Although 5,817 out of the total of 9,018 applicants for GP training places in 2008 trained outside the UK, training offers were made to 801 non-UK doctors and 2,453 UK graduates.

‘We have to remember that general practice selection is a highly competitive process,' said NGPRO recruitment manager Gai Evans.

In 2007, 1,300 UK medical graduates were unable to secure training due to competition for places between UK and overseas graduates.

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