15:15 The RCGP has responded to the news of the expanded overseas recruitment programme, saying that ‘if NHS England are confident that there is appetite to extend this scheme further, then we welcome this aspiration and will do all we can to support them to recruit and safely welcome new GPs to the profession’.
Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: ‘We welcome any GP from the EU or further afield who wants to work in UK general practice – as long as they meet the rigorous standards set by the College and General Medical Council to ensure safe clinical practice – to contribute to delivering care to over 1m patients every day. Indeed, thousands of GPs from overseas already work alongside UK GPs, and we are incredibly grateful for their skills and expertise.’
But she added that there also needs to be clarity on what happens to EU GPs after Brexit.
She said: ‘We also need the position of EU GPs already working in UK general practice to be safeguarded beyond doubt as part of Brexit negotiations – and we are calling for GPs to be added to the Migration Advisory Committee’s shortage occupation list, to make it easier for family doctors from overseas who want to live here and work in UK general practice to do so.
‘Ultimately, we need the pledges in NHS England’s GP Forward View, including £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs by 2020 – delivered as a matter of urgency so that we can continue to keep our patients safe now and for years to come.’
12:15 The BMA has issued a statement in response to the news that NHS England is quadrupling its overseas GP recruitment programme, arguing that this is a sign it is failing to attract and retain GPs to the profession.
Acting BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘Overseas doctors have for decades provided a valuable contribution to the NHS, especially in general practice where they have a strong track record of providing first class patient care.
‘However, this announcement is yet another clear admission of failure from the government which is who are effectively conceding it cannot meet its own target of recruiting 5,000 extra GPs without an emergency draft of doctors from abroad.
‘General practice is currently under unsustainable pressure from rising patient demand, falling resources and widespread staff shortages. We need a long-term solution that addresses these workload pressures which lead to low morale amongst existing GPs and create a climate which is putting off medical graduates from choosing general practice as a career.
‘There needs not only to be an expansion of the number of GPs to create a permanent and stable workforce, but also an increase in the number of support staff that work alongside GPs. This will help give patients access to the appointments and services they need.
‘Applying a sticking plaster by recruiting doctors from abroad can only offer a limited short-term fix, especially when there is uncertainty over freedom of movement following the UK’s exit from the EU.’
10:20 Ambulance trusts are testing a system whereby patients with non-life-threatening symptoms are assessed via video link.
ITV spoke to South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), which said it was ‘trialling the use of technology to provide face-to-face consultations over the telephone, as are other ambulance trusts’.
A spokesperson said: ‘This was initially started at certain nursing homes who were frequent callers to our service. This enables both the patient and the trained clinician within the clinical co-ordination centre (where 999 calls are received) to see each other.
‘This gives the clinician more information when they are assessing the patient as they can see the patient and view the injury severity, symptoms, etc.
‘The patient can see the clinician which improves the experience of the assessment they receive.
‘There are some injuries or conditions that are more challenging to assess over the phone with no visual aid and this trial provides increased patient safety during a telephone assessment.’