RCGP welcomes plans to extend overseas GP recruitment

Publication date: 17 July 2017

Responding to NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens' comments on overseas GP recruitment in the HSJ today, RCGP Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, said:

"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.

"NHS England's GP Forward View is a lifeline for our profession, pledging £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more GPs by 2020. Plans have 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.

"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.

"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."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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