NHS headhunting foreign GPs using £100m recruitment drive

National Health Service is looking to hire 5,000 new doctors by 2020 to aid staff shortage crisis burdening local practitioners with extreme workloads

NHS England will begin international recruitment now the Autumn season is upon us, with between 2-3,000 doctors anticipated to be hired from overseas.  The recruitment drive comes after leading medics raised concerns about their increasing workloads and a dwindling workforce.

Initially, plans had been put in place to recruit 500 doctors from abroad by 2020/21, but this number was recently increased.

A GP international recruitment office has been launched to run the drive, with the aim of bridging the “gap between the number of doctors’ practices want, and the numbers they are successfully recruiting and retaining”, NHS England said.

The recruitment agencies will have the task of identifying, screening and interviewing potential candidates, as well as provide relocation services for successful candidates.

The estimated value of the three-year contract is £100 million, and NHS England will have the opportunity to extend it for a maximum of a year if desired.

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.”

Responding to the announcement last week, Susan Goldsmith, deputy chief executive of the General Medical Council, said: “We all recognise the pressures faced by the GP workforce at present, and we support the idea of accelerating the recruitment of additional doctors to help ease the situation.”

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