College ‘disappointed’ by reports that plans to cut red-tape on GP recruitment have fallen through

Publication date: 12 July 2018

Responding to reports that NHS England is ‘unlikely’ to be able to act as a ‘proxy sponsor’ for GP practices wanting to hire non-EU doctors, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “With a chronic shortage of GPs across the country, and patients waiting longer and longer for appointments as a result, our profession is often reliant on appropriately-trained doctors from overseas wanting to work in UK general practice – indeed we have championed NHS England’s drive to boost overseas recruitment for this purpose.

“It was encouraging to hear last month that following calls by the College, and many other health organisations, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that he would lift the cap on Tier 2 visas for non-EU doctors and nurses wanting to work in the NHS. But for general practice, this is just the first hurdle – as we outlined in a letter to Mr Javid in June.

“There is still a swathe of arduous and costly red tape facing GP practices before they are able to employ GPs from outside of the EU – even if they have been trained in the UK. We presented the Home Secretary with the distressing example of a GP coming to the end of his GP training in the UK, but being forced to consider leaving the country, and thus the NHS as, despite receiving job offers, he could not find a GP practice with a licence to sponsor him for the Tier 2 visa necessary for him to stay.

“Workload in general practice is escalating at an alarming rate, both in volume and complexity, but the share of the NHS budget we receive is less than it was a decade ago and GP numbers are actually falling – these arbitrary barriers to increasing the GP workforce make absolutely no sense.

“It is certainly disappointing to read reports that plans for NHS England to act as a ‘proxy sponsor’ for GP practices, to enable them to hire GPs from overseas – something the College supported – is ‘unlikely’, and if this is the case, it’s imperative that an alternative solution is found swiftly, for the sake of our profession, the sustainability of the wider NHS, and the care we are able to deliver to our patients.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

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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