NHS England has announced that it is aiming to expand the International GP recruitment programme to add an additional 2000 GPs to the primary care workforce.

In order to meet the targets set out in the General practice forward view, NHS England is expanding the international recruitment for GPs. Intake into medical schools in England is expected to rise by 25%, but there will be several years where this increased intake does not immediately translate to more GPs. Working with partners, a further 600 overseas doctors are expected to be recruited in 2017/18.

As well as increasing recruitment in the European Economic Area (EEA), where medical qualifications are already accepted by the General Medical Council (GMC), the Royal College of General Practitioners and GMC will be reviewing other processes for medical professionals from countries outside the EEA such as Australia. Doctors recruited through the scheme will still be expected to meet the highest standards of practice, including the ability to communicate well in English.

Originally piloted in Lincolnshire, Essex, and Cumbria, the international recruitment programme will be expanded to include an additional 11 areas to implement phase two:

  • Humber Coast and Vale
  • North East
  • Middleton, Heywood, and Rochdale
  • Staffordshire
  • Mid Nottinghamshire (Mansfield and Newark)
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • Norfolk and Suffolk
  • Birmingham and Solihull
  • Kent and Medway
  • South East London
  • North East London.

Dr Arvind Madan, GP and NHS England Director of Primary Care, said: ‘Most new GPs will continue to be trained in this country, and general practice will benefit from the 25% increase in medical school places over the coming years. But the NHS has a proud history of ethically employing international medical professionals, with one in five GPs currently coming from overseas. This scheme will deliver new recruits to help improve services for patients and reduce some of the pressure on hard working GPs across the country.’