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HEE deal with Caribbean medical school aims to recruit GP trainees

Health education bosses have drawn up an agreement with a Caribbean medical school to encourage graduates to take up general practice and psychiatry training in the NHS in England.

Under the deal, it is expected that between 50 and 100 medical graduates from Grenada’s St George’s University will begin postgraduate training in the NHS every year, starting from this autumn.

They will complete one or two postgraduate foundation years, depending on prior experience, followed by three-year specialty training to become a GP or psychiatrist.

The deal, put together by Health Education England, forms part of an initiative being run by HEE aimed at recruiting overseas doctors who want to train in general practice or psychiatry in the NHS.

A total of 16 graduates from Grenada’s St George’s University are due to take part in the initiative, called the Widening Access to Specialty Training (WAST) Programme, over the next seven months.

Those on the programme will be posted to a region in England based on areas that have the highest shortages in the two specialties. It is expected they will mainly be assigned to the Midlands, east, north and south west of England, as well as Yorkshire and the Humber.

HEE chief executive Ian Cumming said: ‘Our role is to ensure the health workforce in England can meet the challenges faced by the NHS, which includes the provision of services in underserved areas.

‘We are very impressed that graduates provided by SGU are of the high standard demanded by the NHS; I look forward to the first intake arriving in 2018.’

Dr G Richard Olds, president of SGU, said: ‘Our extensive network of partner universities and teaching hospitals around the world, including in England, ensures our students receive a comprehensive education in a range of clinical environments.

‘This is reflected in the fact that we are the only Caribbean medical school to enter into an agreement with HEE, enabling our graduates to apply for the WAST programme.’

He added: ‘One of our central aims is to find ways to train doctors in the areas they are needed most.

‘This agreement, which will encourage our graduates to train in family medicine and psychiatry in areas of England with the greatest need, is one example of how we are making a significant positive impact around the world.’