Each locally led recruitment campaign will be governed by a set of national principles. Any local project receiving funding from NHS England within the programme must be able to demonstrate that they can meet all of these principles. Priority will be given to areas of the country where schemes can demonstrate that they will deliver the most impact.

The NHS England national team will provide a co-ordination and oversight role and ensure that consistent standards are applied. Coordination will include measures to maximise economies of scale in recruitment and avoid multiple recruitment in the same overseas location.

The overall programme is being delivered in two phases. Phase 1 (2016/17) is already underway and is focusing on a number of high priority areas in England. It has provided NHS England with an opportunity to test approaches and refine the national principles. Phase 2 (from 2017/18) will see a wider roll out across England.

Phase 2 of the programme will be run from 2017/18 to 2019/20. It is a rolling programme of funding over three years with funding phased accordingly.

Proposals can be submitted until 28 February 2018. This may be extended if circumstances change.

Detailed guidance for commissioners on how to prepare and submit proposals has been published.

Phase 1 sites (2016/17)

Funding has already been approved to support the first phase 1 site in Lincolnshire. Led by Lincolnshire Local Medical Committee (LMC), the scheme is aiming to recruit 25 doctors from across the European Union.

Work is also underway to finalise arrangements for some further phase 1 recruitment campaigns. These areas were selected following discussions with regions to identify areas of greatest need and/or where schemes were already being considered. Further details on these schemes will be announced by early 2017.

There will be on-going evaluation of these phase 1 sites as we develop our plans for phase 2.

Phase 2

Phase 2 will commence from 1 April 2017/18. The regions will decide which areas to propose and will ensure schemes are in line with the national principles. Projects may be led by the region, DCO, LMC, CCGs or a partnership between them all.

Procurement support

We have recently commenced procurement activities to put in place a national framework of international recruitment companies to support the programme.

This framework will allow lead organisations to draw down the services of pre-approved recruitment specialists without the need to complete their own lengthy procurement processes.

A prior information notice for the framework was published on 19 October 2016 and market engagement activities are now underway. We are working towards having the framework in place by 10 June 2017 to support Phase 2 of the programme.


A total budget of up to £20m has been agreed to deliver the programme. This covers the financial years 2016/17 to 2019/20. Recruitment schemes will be fully funded by NHS England from the General Practice Forward View transformation budget.

The funding will be used to deliver all aspects of the recruitment programme including training, relocation and accommodation costs. We also expect it to cover post-recruitment support for recruited GPs to support long-term retention. Based on the approaches being taken in the phase 1 sites, we are estimating the recruitment and training costs per doctor to be between £26,000 and £36,000.

Communications and engagement

A national, regional and local communications strategy will be in place so that stakeholders including patients, GPs and other professionals are confident that this programme results in the recruitment of highly competent general practitioners in England.   All GPs recruited in this programme will be expected satisfy the standards required to complete the Induction and Refresher (I&R) Scheme for inclusion on the Medical Performers List.

We will also be working closely with GP leaders, through the RCGP and BMA to ensure that our high quality standards for practising GPs are met through the programme.

Timeline and next steps

An overview of key milestones for the programme is provided below.

Date Deliverable
Oct 2016 Procurement activities commence for recruitment company framework
Nov 2016 Recruitment commences in Lincolnshire phase 1 site
Jan 2017 Further Phase 1 sites agreed
Feb 2017 Phase 2 funding allocation agreed with regions
Feb 2017 Recruitment underway in other phase 1 sites
April 2017 Phase 2 commences
June 2017 Procurement framework in place

Further information

For further information, please contact