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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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