About the International GP Recruitment Programme

The NHS in England is recruiting at least 2,000 suitably qualified overseas doctors into GP practices by 2020. This is called the International GP Recruitment (IGPR) programme.

Initially this will focus on doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA) whose training is recognised in the UK under European law and who get automatic recognition to join the General Medical Council’s (GMC) GP Register.

The Royal College of General Practitioners, working with the General Medical Council, are reviewing the curriculum, training and assessment processes for GPs trained outside the EEA, beginning with Australia, to identify whether the GP registration process can be streamlined for those doctors whose training is seen as equivalent to the UK GP programme. While the initial focus is on recruiting doctors from within the EEA, doctors from outside the EEA can still register their interest in this programme, by emailing england.primarycareworkforce@nhs.net.

Principles of the IGPR Programme

The principles of the IGPR programme are:

  • Doctors 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
  • We will look to attract UK-trained doctors back to the UK wherever possible and UK-trained doctors will not be disadvantaged as a result of this programme
  • We will target those countries where there is likely to be the best chance of affordable supply.

Background to the programme

A key commitment in the General Practice Forward View (GPFV) 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 practice, some practices continue to face recruitment issues and newly qualified GPs are often locuming rather than joining a practice as a permanent GP. Some older GPs are also leaving the profession early. This is leaving a gap between the number of doctors 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 doctors into general practice by 2020.

The IGPR programme was piloted in Lincolnshire, Essex, Cumbria and Humber, Coast and Vale. Building on learning from these pilots, the programme has been expanded into areas across England with the aim being to now recruit at least 2,000 doctors into general practice by 2020.

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Interested in applying?

If you are a doctor working overseas and are interested in learning more about the career opportunities on NHS England’s International GP Recruitment Programme, please contact england.primarycareworkforce@nhs.net