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GPs from EU to be guaranteed £90k salary in recruitment drive

The NHS is offering GPs from the EU a guaranteed annual salary of £90,000 and a ‘generous relocation package’ to move to England to work, in a bid to solve the recruitment crisis in Lincolnshire practices, Pulse has learned.

Recruits to the scheme will receive a starting salary of £70,000 per annum which will increase to £90,000 for a 10-session week once they are up to speed and working independently.

As revealed by Pulse, the scheme was set up last year by the LMC and NHS England to pre-empt a potential Brexit vote and attract EU nationals to the area – which has one of the biggest shortfalls in GPs anywhere in England.

It is being used as a blueprint for recruitment in the rest of the country under NHS England’s plans to hire 500 GPs from overseas

Dr Kieran Sharrock, medical director at Lincolnshire LMC, told Pulse that practices had agreed the salary structure for the scheme ‘based upon local average salaried GP salary’ and that the salary also ‘increases annually to encourage the GPs to stay in the scheme’.

The LMC and NHS England are currently advertising the jobs in the EU with the aim of appointing 25 GPs in total.

Dr Sharrock said the scheme has been ‘really successful’ and has appointed 13 GPs so far – from Poland, Croatia, Lithuania, Greece and Spain – with ‘more interviews in the next few weeks’.

The scheme involves:

  • 12 weeks of paid training at a campus in Poland – an induction programme with lessons in English language, culture and the NHS;
  • Ongoing training over three years at a practice in England. 
  • Assistance with GMC registration and entry on to the performers’ list;
  • ‘Alternative routes’ to meeting requirements for English language competency and the induction and refresher programme.

The LMC and practices are paying for the recruitment and induction which Dr Sharrock said was also ‘partly funded’ by CCGs, NHS England and Health Education England.

The first round of recruits are due to start training next week, on 16 January, with a view to starting work in England from April, with the next wave due to start training ‘8-12 weeks later’.

Dr Sharrock said: ‘Recruitment has been very successful to date. We have met and interviewed a number of excellent candidates from across Europe, who are all enthusiastic about coming to work in Lincolnshire.

‘We have been able to offer 13 candidates positions in Lincolnshire practices, and they have all accepted, so will be starting work and ongoing training here in April.

‘The practices are delighted with the calibre of the candidates and are looking forward to working with them. We are planning our next round of interviews in mid-February, for the second round of training to start later in the year.’

NHS England plans to roll out the Lincolnshire scheme more widely to meet the Government’s target of 500 GPs from overseas set out in the GP Forward View.

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

Note: This story was changed at 10am on 11 Jan. It originally stated that new recruits ‘will receive a starting salary of £70,000 per annum which will increase to £90,000 after a 10-session week to ensure they are up to speed and working independently’. It should have read: ‘Recruits to the scheme will receive a starting salary of £70,000 per annum which will increase to £90,000 for a 10-session week once they are up to speed and working independently’. Apologies for any confusion caused

How the Government is tempting overseas GPs

As first revealed by Pulse, the GP Forward View committed NHS England to recruiting up to 500 GPs from overseas in a bid to help achieve the Government’s pledge to deliver 5,000 more GPs by 2020.

Lincolnshire LMC has spearheaded the drive to hire overseas GPs with its scheme targeting GPs from EU countries such as Poland, Romania and Spain – designed partly to get ahead of any changes in legislation on employing EU workers that might arise from Brexit.

The UK’s subsequent decision to leave the EU cast some doubt over NHS England’s plans with recruiters warning that the referendum result could put off potential applicants

The overseas recruitment drive is also at odds with the Government’s plan for the NHS to become less reliant on foreign doctors and in the long-term ‘self-sufficient’ in producing medical staff.

However, NHS England has since confirmed that it is looking to expand on the Lincolnshire scheme and push on with the plans in the immediate term.