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NHS England advertises £30m contract to bring over 500 GPs from EU

NHS England is close to launching a contract framework worth £30m that will invite companies to help recruit 500 GPs from the EU. 

Companies are being invited to bid to join the framework in an effort to recruit the extra GPs by 2020 as promised in the GP Forward View.

The contract will go out to tender on 5 July with the contract to start on 25 September this year and end in three years time in 2020.

NHS England has previously said the EU recruitment scheme would cost £20m.

This is despite an earlier pledge from health secretary Jeremy Hunt to ‘make the NHS self sufficient in doctors’ by increasing the number that are trained in the UK. 

The contract notice published this week said NHS England ‘is close to launching the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the International Recruitment of GPs Framework’.

It added: ‘Bid submissions from organisations seeking to be part of the framework must be submitted within 30 days.’

NHS England has set the deadline for applications as mid-August 2017.

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.

Some 25 GPs from overseas have already been brought over to Lincolnshire as part of NHS England’s pilot scheme. 

The GPs have been guaranteed an annual salary of £90,000 and a ‘generous relocation package’ to move to England to work.

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

However, despite Brexit, Essex announced plans to recruit 20 GPs from from Portugal, Spain, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia, in an effort to curb recruitment issues that have plagued the county for several years.

GP practices in Hull have also been asked to submit interest in taking on GP recruits from the EU, as part of NHS England’s second wave of the recruitment scheme.

Pulse recently reported that the NHS in Scotland is also looking to recruit GPs from the EU as Dumfries and Galloway enlisted a medical agency to help fill 20 empty posts with EU doctors.