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International recruitment scheme attracts 12 GPs to one area in six months

by Anviksha Patel
13 September 2019

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The international GP recruitment programme has brought 12 GPs to Northamptonshire – just six months after the scheme started.

Since the programme was initiated in Nene in March, seven international GPs have been recruited to start their post in general practice ‘imminently’.

The CCG confirmed that a further three are to start in the area around November or December and another two will begin work in February 2020. NHS Nene CCG also confirmed that all 12 GPs are from the EU.

The international recruitment scheme initially aimed to recruit 500 foreign doctors by 2020 when it was set up in April 2016. A year later, NHS England increased its goal to between 2,000 and 3,000 GPs.

However, only 120 overseas doctors had been recruited by June this year – 70 of which are in the country on placements or seeing patients in practices.

‘Declining GP numbers’

According to recent board papers, GP numbers in the area are declining in line with national numbers so commissioners embarked upon the international GP recruitment scheme to address the decline and meet the target number of GP recruits laid out by NHS England.

The board papers said: ‘Much like the national picture, we are still seeing a declining trend for GP numbers. However, in Northamptonshire, we are approximately 4.9% below our 2015 baseline, whilst nationally the drop exceeds 6.6%. Our gap from meeting our NHSE target number for 2020 is currently at 36.6 FTE GPs.

‘We have therefore recently embarked on an international GP recruitment programme to address this.’

A spokesperson for NHS Nene CCG said: ‘The programme is going really well. Due to other areas also being involved in the scheme, the next round of recruitment in this area will start around February/March 2020.’

As of June 2019, the total number of FTE GPs excluding registrars and international GP recruits in the area was 347.35 GPs.

The CCG spokesperson said the international GPs will be added to the figure when they start in the post.