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#GPnews: NHS England asks practices whether they need overseas GPs

16:00 Labour has responded to the less-than-inspiring June 2017 GP workforce figures published by NHS Digital today which show that the numbers of full-time GPs remain below their 2015 and 2016 levels. However the 34,242 GPs reported in June does represent a 0.9% increase on the March figures which showed numbers dropping.

Shadow health minister Justin Madders said:  ‘With fewer GPs in place now than in 2015, the Tories are failing on their promise to recruit more General Practitioners. The end result is that it is getting increasingly difficult to see a GP, with people facing longer waits for routine appointments as pressure on A&Es mount.

‘This Government’s management of the NHS workforce has been a disaster. They need to do much more to address the pressures of working in General Practice and attract the number of new GPs the NHS needs. Across the country patients are paying the price for the Tories’ failure to get enough GPs in place’.

14:05 The RCGP is teaming up with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), and Psychiatrists (RCPsych) to try to improve the care and support of children and young people (CYP) with mental health problems.

They have formulated five principles for policymakers to adhere to:

  • Acknowledgment that CYP mental health is everybody’s business, and should be supported by a shared vision for CYP mental health across all government departments, particularly health, education and justice.
  • A preventative, multi-agency approach to mental health across all ages, incorporating attention to education for young people and families, social determinants, and health promotion. This should focus on public mental health and early intervention in CYP, including minimising the need for admission and effective crisis services to maintain CYP in their homes.
  • A system of national and local accountability for population-level CYP mental health and well-being, delivered via integrated local area systems.
  • Training and education for the whole children’s workforce in their role and responsibilities for CYP mental health.
  • More support, both from specialist services and other sectors, for professionals dealing with CYP who do not meet referral threshold to a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

10:45 The RCGP has welcomed NHS England’s expansion of the international recruitment programme. College chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard says if NHS England is ‘confident that there is appetite’ among GPs and employing practices, and as long as standards aren’t allowed to slip then the RCGP will do all it can to support the scheme.

She writes:’Workload in general practice is escalating – it has risen 16% over the last seven years – yet investment in our service has declined and we are desperately short of GPs and nurses. It is imperative that we do everything possible to address this, including recruiting more GPs, retaining existing ones, and making it easier for trained GPs to return to practice after a career break.

‘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, General Medical Council and others 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.

‘NHS England’s GP Forward View has always included introducing 500 appropriately trained and qualified GPs from overseas into our GP workforce – 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.’

And the college is also working alongside the GMC on ways to streamline the process for recruiting from outside Europe, with an initial focus on Australia.

Susan Goldsmith, deputy chief executive of the GMC, said of today’s announcement: ‘Doctors from abroad make a huge and vital contribution to health services across the UK, and it is important not to have unnecessary barriers that may discourage them from coming to work here.’

7:30 Our big news this morning is an exclusive that NHS England is intending to introduce 600 overseas GPs into the system by April for practices to employ.

As part of this, NHS England has written to practices in 11 areas, asking them if they require any of these GPs.

You can read the full story here – and a handy Q&A on how to recruit them here. 

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