Relaxing of visa rules would be 'fantastic and much-needed' victory, says RCGP

Publication date: 14 June 2018

Responding to reports of home Secretary Sajid Javid's expected announcement on the relaxing of immigration rules for doctors, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"While we await the details of the Home Secretary's expected announcement, lifting the cap of Tier 2 visas for doctors and nurses wanting to work in the NHS would be a fantastic and much-needed victory for common sense and patient care, and something that the College, along with organisations across medicine, has been pushing hard for.

"We are currently desperately short of GPs in the UK. Our workload is escalating both in terms of volume and complexity, yet despite the Government's pledge for 5,000 more family doctors by 2020, the number of GPs working in the NHS in England is actually falling.

"The NHS, general practice included, has long been supported by the skills and hard work of doctors and other healthcare professionals from overseas. Mindful of similar pressures in other countries, we would welcome any appropriately-trained doctor who wants to work in UK general practice to help us deliver care to over 1m patients a day.

"Regardless of the cap on Tier 2 visas, there remain significant barriers for GPs to employ doctors from overseas. We urge the Home Secretary to address these in his announcement tomorrow: to cut the arduous red tape and significant costs standing in the way of GP practices obtaining the necessary licence to do this; and to use his powers to add GPs to the Migration Advisory Committee's shortage occupation list.

"Recruiting GPs from overseas will not solve the workforce crisis and we are committed to training more GPs in the UK - but it takes at least 10 years to train a GP, and lifting the cap on Tier 2 visas is a very positive step in addressing the workforce pressures facing general practice in the shorter term."

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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