The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has launched a guide for foreign doctors coming to Britain.
The document – launched in conjunction with the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and with the General Medical Council (GMC) and the BMA – is aimed at making overseas doctors more comfortable working in the UK.
The announcement comes following NHS England plans to recruit around 5,000 additional GPs before April 2020, half of which are expected to be from overseas.The recruitment drive will involve distributing £100m to eight agencies in order to meet ambitious GP Forward View targets.
The guide launch was intended to make Britain an attractive prospect to foreign doctors and their families in order to combat GP shortages and fears that Brexit negotiations may drive out non-British-born professionals.
Chair of the GMC, Professor Terence Stephenson, explained the importance of recruitment projects: “The many overseas doctors who work as GPs in the UK make a hugely valuable contribution to frontline healthcare. Moving to a new country to work – and in many cases relocating their family as well – is a huge decision.
“This informative guide helps doctors and their families learn more about life in the UK, and provides them a wealth of support to help them make the move as smooth as possible.
“More broadly we are doing all we can as a regulator to minimise barriers to recruitment and support good doctors who wish to practise in the UK.”
The guide goes into detail on a variety of topics, including the relevant qualifications for GPs in Britain, important professional organisations, and the routes doctors can take into general practice roles.
“Workload in general practice has increased 16% over the last seven years, but investment in our service has declined over the last decade, and our workforce has not risen at pace with demand,” commented Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP chair.
“We already have a huge number of GPs working in NHS general practice from overseas, and we’re incredibly grateful for their work. But we’re still desperately short of GPs – and it is crucial that we tackle this, including through recruiting more GPs.
“This guide will help to support this important work, and I hope it will be an invaluable resource for doctors looking to live and work in the UK to support us to deliver care to over one million patients a day.”
The RCGP has also previously called on the government to break down barriers for overseas GPs coming to the UK by having them added to the Migrations Advisory Committee’s shortage occupation list.
The push to provide more doctors is a response to a dwindling workforce, with 47.5 million reported occasions in the last year when patients were unable to schedule appointments with a practitioner or nurse.
Source: National Health Executive