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NHS England to focus on Australian GP recruits as registration streamlined



NHS England has said it will focus on Australian GPs in its overseas recruitment campaign, after the RCGP and GMC finalised plans to shorten the application process.

Under the new process, Australian GPs will be able to apply to work in the UK within three months as opposed to a year.

Pulse previously reported that the GMC and RCGP were reviewing the curriculum, training and assessment processes for GPs trained in Australia, to see whether the Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration could be simplified.

The RCGP said in the programme for its Annual Conference in Glasgow that the review revealed ‘large similarities in training, so now the majority of evidence required is of post-qualification experience’.

The new process will see applicants submit half the amount of evidence currently required from prospective UK GPs.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said the RCGP chose to review the process for Australian GPs first because ‘their training and experience is similar to that of the UK’.

She said: ‘The streamlined system is intended to cut out a huge amount of bureaucracy, and bring these doctors into placements and work much more quickly and painlessly than before.’

In light of the streamlined application process, NHS England has hired an international recruitment agency to encourage applications from Australian GPs through targeted advertising, adding that the new recruits will be offered ‘enhanced relocation packages’ worth up to £18,500.

NHS England’s director of primary care delivery Dominic Hardy said: ‘It’s no secret the NHS needs to recruit more GPs, so it makes sense to head to Australia where doctors’ skills, training and high levels of care closely match those of their British counterparts.

‘The recruitment programme is gathering momentum with interest from GPs in Europe and we also have more home-grown GPs in training than ever before. But why stop there when we know many Australians would welcome the opportunity to work in an English clinical practice?’

NHS England added in a statement that it has received 1,200 applications from GPs in Europe looking to work in the UK, with over 370 either in screening or in the early stages of recruitment.

This comes after NHS England revealed it had 85 GPs from overseas in post as of the end of March – nearly two years after the scheme’s launch.

GMC director of registration Una Lane added that the new system will ‘increase the flow of good doctors into the UK, at a time they are particularly needed’, adding that it will ‘eventually be extended to other countries that offer similar high-quality training for their GPs’.

Timeline of the new application scheme for Australian GPs

  • Applicant spends four weeks gathering evidence for their application – compared with six months previously
  • GMC checks take 10 working days
  • RCGP evaluation takes a maximum of 25 working days to review, prepare, evaluate and recommend to GMC
  • GMC takes 10 working days to issue a final outcome
  • GMC and RCGP take a total of nine weeks – compared to a minimum of three to four months previously – to review the application
  • After approval, the GP enters a placement of up to three months

Source: RCGP annual conference agenda