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What does the overseas GP recruitment scheme mean for commissioners?

What does the overseas GP recruitment scheme mean for commissioners?

NHS England announced this week that it would be increasing the number of GPs recruited from overseas from 500 to 2,000 by 2020/21
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NHS England announced this week that it would be increasing the number of GPs recruited from overseas from 500 to 2,000 by 2020/21.

The aim is to help deliver the commitment set out in the GP Forward View to recruit 5,000 more GPs into the profession by 2020.

A pilot was launched in Lincolnshire, which saw 26 GPs recruited locally, with Essex and Cumbria in the process of recruiting 50 and 25 GPs respectively.

In 2017/18, 11 more areas are set to welcome overseas GPs.

The 11 areas are:

  • Humber Coast and Vale
  • North East
  • Middleton, Heywood and Rochdale
  • Staffordshire
  • Mid Nottinghamshire (Mansfield and Newark)
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • Norfolk and Suffolk
  • Birmingham and Solihull
  • Kent and Medway
  • South East London
  • North East London

How will the overseas GPs help the local areas?

Dr Arvind Madan, GP and NHS England director of Primary Care, said the scheme will ‘help improve services for patients and reduce some of the pressure on hard working GPs across the country’.

He said: ‘Most new GPs will continue to be trained in this country, and general practice will benefit from the 25% increase in medical school places over the coming years.’

Simon Cox, chief officer of NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, part of the Humber Coast and Vale recruitment patch, said the programme will ‘go some way towards easing the current pressures in local health provision’.

He added: ‘Like many other parts of the country, there is a shortage of GPs across Scarborough and Ryedale.

‘While the evidence shows patients are generally very satisfied with the service they receive from their local GP practice, we know the wait for a routine appointment can sometimes be a source of frustration.

Gina Palumbo, Local GP and chair of East Riding of Yorkshire CCG added: ‘The CCG is excited by this NHS England initiative and what it means for the future of GP recruitment in the Humber area.

‘Attracting additional GPs into the East Riding will help to meet increasing demand delivered by more resilient general practices, working in collaboration with our other providers.’

Dr Christopher Browning, chair of West Suffolk CCG, said: ‘Like many other parts of the country, there is a shortage of GPs in Suffolk.

He also said the scheme would ‘go some way towards easing the current pressures in local health provision and is to be welcomed’.

How much will it cost?

The total fund for the overseas recruitment initiative is still under discussion but NHS England has set out a budget of £100m for firms to recruit and relocate the new GPs.

However, based on evidence from the pilot sites, NHS England estimates that the recruitment and training costs come to between £26,000 and £36,000 per doctor.

How can CCGs apply to employ the overseas GPs?

CCGs can submit proposals on a rolling basis until 28 February 2018, which NHS England can extend if circumstances change. CCGs have been advised to send an expression of interest to their usual workforce contact at their NHS England regional team ahead of sending in a formal proposal.

The proposal itself should be fully costed and show how the scheme in the local area would meet national guidance such as developing incentives and support for prospective doctors and procuring, commissioning or providing an effective recruitment and training programme.

Two deadlines have been set out after which NHS England will provide a response after four weeks. The first is on 30 November, after which NHS England will respond by 28 December. The second is 28 February 2018, after which NHS England will respond by 28 March 2018.

Where will the GPs come from?

The scheme will initially focus on recruiting GPs from within the European Economic Area, as their GP training is recognised in the UK under European law and already get automatic recognition to join the GMC’s GP Register.

However, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), is working with the General Medical Council (GMC) to review the curriculum, training and assessment processes for GPs trained outside the EEA, beginning with Australia, to identify whether the GP registration process can be shortened for those doctors.

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