Published 9 August 2019
The NHS in England is tackling the severe GP workforce crisis through a number of schemes, including an initiative to recruit at least 2,000 suitably qualified overseas doctors into GP practices by 2020.
So far the international GP recruitment campaign – which has included adverts aimed at GPs in Australia inviting them to live in the ‘land of Harry Potter and William Shakespeare’ – has not yielded spectacular results.
Nonetheless, funding is available for practices that wish to tempt overseas recruits to their area, as part of the additional £2.4 billion a year NHS England has been investing into general practice through the 2016 GP Forward View.
This article outlines how practices can potentially access funding for recruitment of international recruits.
The principles underpinning NHS England’s international recruitment programme are:
Following international recruitment pilots in Essex, Cumbria and Humber, the approach has now been expanded into other areas across England.
Although no specific funding figure has been allocated to overseas recruitment specifically, there are some key funding streams that practices and other GP organisations can try to access:
The programme is targeting countries in the EEA (European Economic Area) and Australia.
Specifically this includes: Australia; Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Republic of Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Mata; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland.
Contact your own CCG, Federation and STP board to see if any money has been earmarked locally for international recruitment – if not and you have contacts and know of international doctors wishing to relocate, make a case for financial help to recruit.
Once you have more of an idea about what local funding is available, you need to think about what to include in your bid.
Adverts for international GPs in the international medical press may be viewed overseas.
NHS England has produced some targeted brochures aimed at international recruits.
It may be possible to bid for money to pay for a targeted advertising campaign for your particular region, emphasising the benefits of living there as well as important aspects of the job. The funds could then be used to design and promote the job adverts and other possible costs involved. Done well, this strategy may be the single most effective way of generating interest for overseas GPs to come and work in England.
Dr David Mummery is a GP and research fellow at Imperial College London
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