National principles

NHS England has committed to support parts of England that have experienced difficulties recruiting doctors and where international recruitment is supported locally. The intention of this support, which will be delivered over the next three years, is to provide rigorous recruitment and training for doctors from overseas to apply to become a GP in England. The philosophy of this programme is to ensure that competent doctors are recruited and are effectively supported so that they build a professional and personal network which they remain part of for at least five years.

National Principles

International recruitment programmes will be led by local systems and will be funded by NHS England if they can demonstrate the need, the commitment and effective approach which is consistent with the national principles. NHS England will make funding decisions based on value for money within the fixed funding available for the programme.

The national principles are:

    1. Engage with practices committed to recruiting international doctors.
      1. Promote the recruitment programme and reassure practices about the quality and effectiveness of the programme to ensure that high quality doctors are recruited
      2. Ensure practices that are involved are committed by signing a Memorandum of Understanding committing them to appointing the successful candidate.
    2. Secure sufficient funding to deliver the whole process of recruitment, including NHS England funds which have been specifically identified nationally, working with Responsible Officers, Local Medical Committees, Health Education England, CCGs and NHS England.
    3. Develop a package of incentives and support for prospective doctors for the specific geography.
      1. Produce a prospectus of local amenities, attractions and benefits of the community
      2. Produce and commit to an agreed contract of employment for recruited doctors with appropriate terms of employment which may include minimum employment periods
      3. Agree and commit to a set of financial support, advice and guidance which will assist doctors and their families (where appropriate) to help doctors and their families feel welcome and supported.
    4. Procure, commission or provide an effective recruitment and training programme.
      1. Use only recruitment companies that adhere to the UK code of practice for international recruitment. The list of commercial recruitment companies who adhere to these standards can be found on  NHS Employers website. There is also information on the website about the process for suppliers to apply to join the list
      2. provide a robust education, training and assessment package for recruited GPs, including relevant clinical, language, cultural topics and mentorship and language support. Education, training and assessment may be delivered outside the UK where appropriate and effective.
    5. Develop and implement a clear end to end process which supports candidates and receiving practices, seeking advice and lessons learned from other programmes, (including Lincolnshire model).
      1. define the countries to be targeted
      2. ensure that the process to achieve membership on the National medial Performers List is agreed which takes account of the support provided by the Induction and Refresher Scheme
      3. ensure successful candidates can access suitable indemnity
      4. design and implement an effective communications plan, which is supported by HEE and NHS England.

NHS England will work with areas of greatest need, and financially support proposals where a commitment is made to meet the principles above and which seek to tackle parts of the country where recruitment is challenging. NHS England will be a member of local development groups and engaged in governance arrangements.

Further information

For further information, please contact