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Independents' Day

Ministers 'not honest' as untrained GPs clog system

The Government has not been honest in its drive to ease the GP recruitment crisis with an effort to attract doctors from abroad, the committee in charge of accrediting GPs has complained.

Unsuitable and unqualified applicants are clogging up the certification system because the Department of Health has not been clear enough about the standards required, according to the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice.

Latest JCPTGP figures show while there has been a big increase in inquiries and applications from overseas-qualified doctors on obtaining a licence to practise, there has not been an equivalent rise in the number of certificates issued.

Katie Carter, chief executive of the committee, said potential recruits and unsuitable candidates had caused backlogs of more than three months in the assessment system. She added: 'Quite a lot of overseas doctors are interested in general practice but are not qualified to work here, or don't realise they need GMC registration.

'My view is that this campaign has not been honest enough about how you get into general practice ­ though it has not been dishonest ­ and that asking us about general practice doesn't automatically translate to treating patients.'

GPC negotiator Dr Laurence Buckman agreed that 'misinformation' was contributing to the problem. 'Many people who want to come over here are not GPs at the moment,' he said. 'They believe they could be, but don't know what British general practice is all about.'

Dr Buckman added: 'We should be targeting EU countries where there is an excess of GPs at the moment because they need a lot less training and are not being taken away from countries with no organised health service.'

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