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Independents' Day

LMC recruits first wave of overseas GPs to take pressure off practices

Lincolnshire LMC has recruited its first wave of international GPs from across Europe, who will start training in Poland next month.

Twelve overseas recruits will then start work in Lincolnshire from April 2017, with a further cohort to join in August, bringing the total number up to 25.

NHS England, which chose Lincolnshire to pilot the new recruitment programme earlier this year, said that after their arrival, the new recruits would be included in a 'three-year training provision programme to ensure that they are comfortable and fully integrated into NHS general practice'.

The North East has been one of the areas that has had most difficulty filling its places on GP training schemes. Lincolnshire currently has 40 GP vacancies to fill, out of a total workforce of 340 whole time equivalent GPs.

The scale of the GP shortage in the area equates to one GP per 2,080 patients, higher than NHS England’s safety benchmark of one GP to 1,750 patients, according to the area's sustainability and transformation plan (STP).

Dr Kieran Sharrock, medical director of Lincolnshire LMC, said the doctors, from countries including Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland and Spain, have been given a 'conditional job offer' and will undertake training from January to March.

The training course, in Poland, will teach the doctors about how the NHS works, 'Lincolnshire culture' and 'communication skills for the NHS'.

Dr Sharrock said: 'We want to make sure that they are happy and want to stay here. The last thing we want to do is for them to come here and feel like a fish out of water.'

But he added that the training and recruitment costs are 'quite significant', amounting to between £25,000 and £50,000 per doctor, depending on any long-term costs.

Following the Lincolnshire pilot, NHS England plans to roll it out more widely to meet the target of 500 GPs from overseas set out in the GP Forward View.

But it has said that GPs will be recruited ‘on an ethical basis’ from countries where there are already plenty of GPs.

The Lincolnshire STP wrongly stated that the area will see 25 GPs in post from next month.

Recruiting GPs from abroad

NHS England is pushing ahead with its plan to recruit hundreds of GPs from Europe, despite health secretary Jeremy Hunt's pledge in October for the NHS to start relying on 'homegrown' doctors.

NHS England has said this scheme is to become 'a blueprint' for similar schemes across the country.

Pulse revealed in June that Lincolnshire LMC had been working with European medical recruiters to attract GPs to work in the county, and the GP Forward View outlined NHS England’s plan to attract 500 GPs of its 5,000 GP target from overseas.


Readers' comments (10)

  • Seriously we are doing this now? No offense to any of my eastern European Colleagues many of whom are excellent clinicians but the point is the overseas doctors who work in GP land for the NHS have trained for and worked in the NHS on the wards, emergency departments and OPD clinics in the UK in the NHS. Thats how you learn about the NHS and how it all works. The free at the point of use culture is unique around the world and massively changes the patient doctor relationship thus we have to act as gatekeepers and manage a multitude of chronic conditions ourselves. No other health care system in the world does this and to be honest a lot of patients don't like it and its the source of much conflict but its the job. Now in a privatised system with no Gatekeeping on the other hand... yeah cheaper foreign doctors make perfect sense but why they would come for rubbish pay and working conditions to be moaned at by patients for not referring them for full body scan for the symptoms they have just woken up with is beyond me.

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  • instead of finding a doctor from another country and spending £50,000 training them up and "making them feel comfortable", wouldn't it be easier to stop repeatedly treating UK GPs like crap and they might then want to stick around??

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  • I believe that Jeremy Hunt must have a "bizarre and personal Vendetta" against GPs and the evidence for this is that his behaviour towards GPs is counter-intuitive-we are in short supply-answer-treat us like crap.
    The job is very unattractive-answer-make the job even more unattractive and refuse to listen to advise even from senior NHS advisors.

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  • I am confused. Presumably they will need to pass the usual selection process for entry into GP training programmes and will then of course have to pass all the requirements of the MRCGP?

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  • 1.19pm...nah...they will be "exempted" no doubt and also have special "exemption" from appraisal etc, etc.

    And then once qualified-they will be off to Australia, Canada or NZ with a UK trained" CV.

    I have a better plan-brutally terrorise existing GPs, force them to resign, then replace them will "physician assistants", end up with avoidable patient deaths as a result then blame GPs for the mess?

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  • When asian GPs were recruited in huge numbers in the past GP land was enjoyable. Completely different today. Let's see how long they remain.

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  • £50k training. Any info how long the golden handcuffs are? I assume this was overlooked by NHSE. Let's throw even more taxpayers money away, Oz will be chuffed!!

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  • Of course "The Daily Criminal" won't report on this...remember as Jeremy Hunt's pet "pit-bull" they are only trained to eat GPs.

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  • I understand that the ministry of justice is offering full time general practice as an alternative to custodial sentences for serial offenders. It is thought that the uptake will be low however, the first wave of offenders demanded immediate return to their cells after only one week.

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  • Spuds

    What does "Lincolnshire culture" training involve??

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