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NHS to court European medical students in bid to boost GP training

NHS recruiters will target English-speaking medical students in Europe in a bid to boost the number of ‘good applicants’ for GP training in England.

NHS England announced today it has been working with Health Education England (HEE) to ‘increase the pool of applicants’ applying to enter GP or specialty training.

It said recruitment will focus in particular on medical schools that teach in English.

The board paper said that NHS England and HEE had been developing relations with these medical schools and it now planned to market directly to their students and graduates.

It said: ’HEE, working with partners including NHS England, wishes to increase the pool of applicants making a positive choice to apply to enter GP specialty training. One approach is to increase applications from medical schools across Europe.

’A particular focus will be the medical schools that teach in English. Many of their students are UK citizens. HEE has been developing relations with these medical schools and their students. It is now proposed to market directly to these students and graduates, as an opportunity to increase the pool of good applicants.’

It comes as official figures revealed around 83% of GP training posts have been filled in England, the first time in three years that there has been an increase in GP trainees recruited at this stage.

However, education leaders are way behind on the target to train 3,250 GPs a year by August this year – a target which was itself moved back from 2015 – with only 2,691 positions being filled before the final round of recruitment.

Pulse has reported as many as 600 European GPs are currently in the ‘pipeline’ to work in England, according to recruiters working with the NHS.

GPs in Lincolnshire had been looking into similar solutions, recruiting from Spain, Poland and Romania as the only way to address their significant workforce issues.

NHS England’s GP Forward View, published last year said it would attempt to attract 500 overseas GPs to England.