One of the UK’s largest GP partnerships is making visits to China and India to attract young medical students to come and train as GPs in their super practice, in a bid to increase its list size to 300,000 patients.
Lakeside Healthcare in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire currently covers 120,000 patients across its four site ‘super-practice’, and its CEO revealed last week plans to more than double their size next year.
Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum event on Thursday, chief executive Professor Robert Harris said he would be taking a ten day trip to China before Christmas to attract new talent.
By focussing on training, Lakeside aims to convert those who don’t want to pursue a career in general practice.
He said: ‘We have 60 students at any given time going through our system. One of our four key pillars is to be a teaching and training practice of some repute. I’m off to China on Saturday for 10 days talking to Chinese institutions and ministers about bringing Chinese students to come and train with us. We are doing the same with India.
’And we are doing this for three reasons. One, it is lifeblood for us. We get people who don’t particularly want to stick around in general practice…at the end of that we have around 40% staying on in general practice and most people want to stay and work with us.’
Professor Harris said their location in Lincolnshire offers excellent quality of life, but the county has struggled to attract GPs in recent years. However, the Lakeside business model ‘allows us to pay very well’.
He added: ‘We presently have around 120,000 patients and by the end of next year the plan is to get about 300,000, with deals that are in progress right now. We currently have about 60 partners of which 30 are specialists (GPSIs)’.
Pulse has previously revealed Lincolnshire GP leaders in talks with European recruiters about training and supporting already qualified GPs in Poland, Romania, and Spain to relocate to the area.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has since unveiled his ambition to make the NHS self-sufficient in UK trained doctors by the end of the next parliament, by increasing fees for international students and forcing NHS trained doctors to work for the NHS for four years.