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More than 500 overseas GPs to be recruited by NHS

The NHS is set to recruit at least 500 GPs from overseas as part of its attempts to increase GP recruitment, it has confirmed, as Pulse exclusively revealed this month.

In the General Practice Forward View, NHS England said it would attract 500 ‘appropriately trained doctors’, and potentially more, over the next five years.

It comes after Pulse revealed this month that Health Education England bosses are in discussions with a hospital group in India around bringing GPs to work in English general practice.

The RCGP had claimed that Pulse’s story was ‘false’.

But NHS England said today that it would supplement attempts to increase the numbers of UK-trained GPs with ‘a major international recruitment drive, to attract up to 500 appropriately trained and qualified doctors – and possibly more - from overseas over the next five years’.

Pulse revealed that Health Education England has signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Apollo Hospitals in India, a major hospital chain, which will involve the ‘mutual exchange of clinical staff’.

It was thought this could lead to the transfer of 400 GPs.

But the BMA said that the move to recruit trained doctors from overseas was ‘daft’.

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGPs, said: ’The College is working hard to “recruit, retain and return” as many GPs as possible so that we can continue to give our patients the safe care they deserve.

’If doctors from outside of the UK can undergo and pass our rigorous assessment process, then we would welcome their skills and expertise in UK general practice.

’The General Practice Forward View makes clear that these GPs will be subject to standards to ensure they are appropriately trained and qualified.

’This will not apply to doctors from Apollo hospital in India who have taken the College-accredited Diploma in Family Medicine, without training or qualifications equivalent to the MRCGP.’

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Readers' comments (16)

  • Good, we need more GPs!!

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  • Questions that will be asked in the interview for these doctors and the likely answers we may get from them:

    1. Why do you want to come to Uk and work as a GP?
    Answer : Because I can become hardworking like the other current UK GPs and like them I too can only work part time for the rest of my life and still be paid a very decent salary.

    2. What are your short term career plans as GP?
    Answer: There is something called Portfolio GP that I heard about where you don't need to see patients all the time - I want to become one like them.

    3. Do you want to take up partnership in the future?
    Answer: Yes definitely, my uncle is already a partner, and he promised me a partnership already. This is what is currently happening - am I not right?

    4. What do you know about work stress in General Practice ?
    Answer: I should always say I am stressed even though I would already only be working part time. That's the best approach and that is what the current GPs are doing anyway.

    5. What can you contribute to General Practice in the UK?
    Answer: Just like the present GPs - I will contribute nothing.

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  • Terribly dangerous decision. Are these people really going to be allowed to work without training and without going through the same assessment process as UK trained GPs.

    General Practice in the UK is just different to elsewhere. I do not think I can go and work in the USA, Spain or India

    Sneaking it out as part of this package is just underhand.

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  • Down with British Imperialism!

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  • Good to have more help but is it safe? Let's see how the GMC protect patients without training.

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  • Shantanu Rahman

    I have been a GP Principal in the UK and have also worked as a GP in India in the last 8 years. I feel it will be dangerous to randomly recruit doctors from overseas to manage the recruitment crisis in NHS General Practice.
    In my view, NHS England, HEE, RCGP and GMC should put their thinking hats on and look at the most reasonable and practical solution to this crisis. Temporarily they can sort it by ONLY attracting overseas doctors, who have passed the MRCGP [INT] examination in the last 5 years, and give them shorter GP VTS training (maybe for 12-18 months) before adding them to the GP Register. They all should have a bond that they have to serve the NHS for at least 5 years. Else, they will soon start moving to Canada or Australia!

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  • GPs in India do not have to go through 3 yrs or now 5 years of training and exams as Fa

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  • What then is the point of compulsory GP training and MRCGP exams here if you bring in GPs from India. There is no formal training period for GPs and no rigorous postgraduate exams to pass before one can work as a GP!

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  • We're saved then. Only 4500 GPs left to find.
    And I'm sure none will leave, go locum, emigrate again etc.

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  • absurd idea

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