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Lincolnshire recruits 12 GPs from overseas to fill workforce gap


15 December 2016

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Lincolnshire has recruited 12 GPs from overseas to start work in practices from April 2017.

The area’s local medical committee (LMC) has recruited its first wave of international GPs from across Europe, who will start training in Poland next month.

Despite the area's sustainability and transformation plan saying the area will see 25 GPs in post from next month, the first wave of 12 recruits will not arrive in the UK until mid-April.

Lincolnshire has recruited 12 GPs from overseas to start work in practices from April 2017.

The area’s local medical committee (LMC) has recruited its first wave of international GPs from across Europe, who will start training in Poland next month.

Despite the area's sustainability and transformation plan saying the area will see 25 GPs in post from next month, the first wave of 12 recruits will not arrive in the UK until mid-April.

Dr Kieran Sharrock, medical director of Lincolnshire LMC, confirmed that a second wave of doctors would begin training soon after the first wave and arrive in the UK in August, bringing the total number of international GPs working in Lincolnshire to 25 by that time.

Lincolnshire was chosen to pilot the recruitment programme earlier this year, with a plan to roll it out more widely to meet the target of 500 GPs from overseas set out in the GP Forward View.

Lincolnshire currently has 40 GP vacancies to fill, out of a total workforce of 340 whole time equivalent GPs.

The scale of the GP shortage in the area equates to one GP per 2,080 patients, higher than NHS England’s safety benchmark of one GP to 1,750 patients, according to the area's sustainability and transformation plan.

Sharrock said the doctors, from countries including Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland and Spain, have been given a “conditional job offer” and will undertake training from January to March.

The training course will teach the doctors about how the NHS works, “Lincolnshire culture” and “communication skills for the NHS”, he said. 

But he added that the training and recruitment costs are “quite significant”, amounting to between £25,000 and £50,000 per doctor, depending on any long-term costs.

A spokesperson from NHS England said that after their arrival, the new recruits would be included in a “three-year training provision programme to ensure that they are comfortable and fully integrated into NHS general practice”. 

Sharrock said: “We want to make sure that they are happy and want to stay here. The last thing we want to do is for them to come here and feel like a fish out of water.” 

The NHS England spokesperson added that they are still looking to recruit a further five people for the first wave.

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