The NHS in England is recruiting at least 2,000 suitably qualified overseas doctors into GP practices by 2020.
This is an exciting time to work in general practice in England as a family doctor or general practitioner (GP). By joining over 41,000 GPs currently working in England, many from overseas, you can enjoy a rewarding and varied career that offers unrivalled flexibility, with the option to fit the job around other major commitments, such as having a family.
It also gives you the opportunity to practise in an area of England of your choice, and to decide to be wholly a generalist or to develop skills in a specific area as a GP with a special interest.
The NHS in England is investing an additional £2.4 billion a year into general practice. The money is being used to recruit more doctors and other healthcare professionals, upgrade buildings and improve the use of information technology so general practice can offer more and improved services to meet the needs of local people.
Which countries is the NHS in England recruiting from?
Initially recruitment will focus on family doctors or general practitioners (GPs) from the European Economic Area (EEA) whose training is recognised in the United Kingdom (UK) under European law and who get automatic recognition to join the General Medical Council’s (GMC) GP Register.
These countries are:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Czech Republic
The Royal College of General Practitioners (professional membership body for GPs in UK), working with the General Medical Council (independent regulator for doctors in UK), are reviewing the processes for GPs trained outside the EEA, beginning with Australia, to identify whether the GP registration process can be simplified for those doctors whose training is seen as the same as GPs training in the UK.
Principles of recruitment
The principles of recruitment are:
- GPs will need to meet the highest standards of practice and speak good English
- Recruitment will be bound by the World Health Organisation Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel
- The NHS will look to attract UK-trained doctors back to the UK wherever possible and UK-trained doctors will not be disadvantaged as a result
- The NHS will target those countries where there is likely to be the best chance of recruiting GPs to work in England.
Why is the NHS in England recruiting GPs from abroad?
A key commitment in the General Practice Forward View (GPFV) published in April 2016 is to strengthen the workforce. This includes recruiting suitably qualified overseas doctors into general practice.
While GP training places are increasing year-on-year and many GPs are returning to practise, some practices continue to face recruitment issues and newly qualified GPs are often working temporarily at a practice (known as a locum) rather than joining as a permanent GP. Some older GPs are also leaving the profession early. This is leaving a gap between the number of GPs that practices want, and the numbers they are successfully recruiting and retaining.
That is why, in addition to other ways we are expanding the workforce, we are working with partners to recruit at least 2,000 overseas GPs into general practice.
The NHS in England ran pilots in Lincolnshire, Essex, Cumbria and Humber, Coast and Vale. Building on learning from these pilots, we expanded into areas across England with the aim being to now recruit at least 2,000 doctors into general practice from overseas.
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