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Independents' Day

CCGs in talks over recruiting Australian GPs with £18k relocation package

CCGs are in talks about bringing over GPs from Australia with a relocation package worth £18,500 under NHS England’s international GP recruitment programme.

NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG has said in board papers that they are in planned talks to become the 'first pilot' to recruit GPs from non-EU countries through NHS England's newly refocused international recruitment plan.

However, NHS England has said the recruits from Australia have chosen to work in a variety of locations.

The GPs moving back to the UK from Australia are set to recieve a relocation package worth £18,500 to cover receipted relocation expenses only.

However, in addition to the relocation package, NHS England has also said it would cover the cost of tier 2 visas for the GP and their family.

NHS England announced last week that it would be focusing on recruiting international GPs from Australia after the RCGP and GMC finalised plans to shorten the application process. 

NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG board papers from last month state that the CCG has scheduled early talks to discuss being the ‘first pilot site to expand to non EU’ GPs.

However, NHS England told Pulse that a small number of GPs working in Australia are in the early stages of recruitment but are looking to work in a variety of locations.

NHS England was not able to confirm how many Australian GPs have been recruited so far or where they intend to go.

However, it added that the recruitment scheme will target GPs who left the UK for Australia, as well as Australian GPs who want to move to the UK.

All GPs working in Australia – regardless of where they were trained – are able to access the relocation package benefits.

For GPs from outside the EU, NHS England has committed to funding tier 2 visas for the GP and their family, which can cost up to £610 per person.

While no specific amount of money has been set aside to fund the recruitment and no target set for the number of GPs to be brought over from Australia, the recruitment drive will contribute to the 2,000 international GP recruitment target set last year, which was set a £100m budget.

In addition to the relocation package, the GPs will also be supported with £3,500 monthly bursaries, a payment covering the cost of GMC and DBS fees and support finding a practice to sponsor a tier 2 visa. 

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP committee executive team workforce lead, welcomed the focus on recruiting Austrialian GPs, adding: 'There are of course costs associated with relocating and taking up a role – including training, regulation and induction – so it’s only right that these are covered if we are to encourage more GPs to come and work here, not just from Australia but elsewhere across the globe...

'It is hoped that overseas GPs will come to work in the UK to help deal with workforce shortages, however, more must be done to address the intense workload pressures and funding constraints to attract new doctors to the profession and keep those GPs with the most experience in practice.'

International GP recruitment

NHS England first announced that they would be recruiting 500 GPs from overseas in the GP Forward View in April 2016, with Lincolnshire first implementing the programme to address a local recruitment crisis.

However, last year NHS England expanded the scheme to recruit anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 GPs from overseas by 2020 – about two thirds of the Government’s target to add an extra 5,000 GPs to the workforce by 2020.

But in May this year NHS England admitted that just 85 GPs from overseas were in post nearly two years after the scheme's launch.

The Government has since shifted focus to recruiting GPs from Australia, after the RCGP and GMC finalised plans to shorten the application process.

International GPs recruited on to the programme are put on to induction and refresher scheme, which finishes with placements in practices of up to six months.

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Readers' comments (29)

  • Job creating scheme for administrators. Otherwise a futile and expensive whitewash.

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  • Will managers need to make trip out there to check all going well?

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  • Why on earth would any doctor from Australia want to come here apart from to make a few pounds in a poor climate and poor healthcare system and only likely for the short term. This would,at best, briefly solve a problem for the very short term and not address the underlying difficulties. Or am I wrong?

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  • Ha ha ha pathetic losers

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  • National Hopeless Service

    Early talks - "we know where your families live".

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  • More pretence at helping, only creating managerial jobs. Why would anyone want to come if not for family. Worse in pay, pensions, working conditions, hours, appraisals, GDPR, complaints, lack of professional freedoms, child protection, CQC etc. The GMC story for Dr Bawa Garba is very well known even in hospital circles in Australia I doubt anyone would want to come and be treated like this.

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  • I really don’t understand the rationale behind spending more money to recruit from overseas, why don’t they spend this same amount on retaining GPs trained in the UK who are increasingly moving overseas, especially to Canada. I just don’t get it.
    NHS England and the BMA (which appears to endorse the plan) have enough resources to “do the mathematics” to find the number of GPs retiring, leaving the profession or relocating to other countries. Every GP that leaves the country needs requires the GMC to send a ‘Certificate of Good Standing’ their proposed country’s medical regulatory authority. So it’s quite easy to have an idea of the numbers.
    My message to NHS England - there’s no point in pouring more water into a leaking bucket! .... despite all your “sincere” efforts, any hope you have of filling the bucket is going depend on how big the leak is and how quickly the water goes through it!

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  • Waste of their time and money... unless someone is already planning to come back..... no-ones going to be attracted back to the UK for receipted expenses..... and 18k might only be a months salary down under anyway, you can earn over £1k per day in the right places so three 3 weeks salary for expenses only...... Nah... another daft scheme from people with no common sense....please let us know how they get on..... can we say ' told you so' later?

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  • £18K? I wouldn't relocate in a UK GP practice for £1.8million!

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  • Let's see, relocation costs, all the troubles of moving and just add in your stamp duty of £30K without even considering all the problems the UK GP faces, Government wins. I would not move from Australia for 100K long term looking at all the problems with the toxic UK practice climate.

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