International GP Recruitment Programme

The General Practice Forward View (GPFV) includes a commitment to deliver a major international recruitment drive to attract at least 500 appropriately trained and qualified GPs from overseas by 2020.

Following publication of the GPFV, NHS England’s general practice workforce team has been engaging with our regional and local colleagues, Health Education England and stakeholders including the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and the British Medical Association (BMA) to agree an approach for delivering the commitment.

The International GP Recruitment Programme will formally commence on April 1 2017. In advance of this, NHS England has provided funding to four international recruitment schemes. These have helped us test approaches and develop plans for the national roll-out of the programme from April 2017.

NHS England has committed to fund the cost of recruiting, relocating and training overseas doctors as part of the programme. The salaries for these GPs will be agreed locally and paid by the practices that employ them

We considered three options for implementation and delivery of the programme:

  1. Local leadership and delivery, with funding allocated to local teams or CCGs
  2. National leadership and delivery
  3. Local leadership with national support and oversight

We assessed each of the options against the following set of criteria:

  1. Impact on consistency of approach nationally to meet high standards of recruitment
  2. Impact on external relationships with other nations
  3. Impact on establishing relationships between successful applicants and receiving practices and local systems
  4. Impact on oversight and tracking of recruitment numbers
  5. Value for money

Stakeholders told us it is important that the schemes are locally led, with general practices involved in the selection process. This approach helps to ensure that successful applicants can start to build connections with practices at an early stage.  They can begin to see where they will be living and working from the outset. It was agreed that this approach encourages local buy-in to the scheme and  helps ensure that GPs stay after they move to England.

The contracts and support packages for international doctors recruited into general practices will vary across the country to be tailored to the opportunities and needs of the local health system.

It has therefore been agreed that the programme will be locally led and delivered with oversight, co-ordination and support by the NHS England general practice workforce team. Each international recruitment project will be expected to satisfy a set of national principles.


General Practice Forward View – International GP Recruitment, guidance for commissioners

Further information

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