Recruitment drive for Australian GPs begins

Author: Jo Carlowe
Recruitment drive for Australian GPs begins

NHS England has today published guidance to encourage Australian GPs to relocate and work in England.

“The NHS needs you…We are now looking across the world — but especially in places like Australia — for the best GPs to join us,” the brochure states.

NHS England announced its intention to recruit from Australia in October 2018, with training and clinical standards between England and Australia perceived as similar.

For GPs trained from 2007 onwards a revised Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR) has been launched which cuts the average application time it takes from a year to three months, in recognition of the similarities between GP training in Australia and in the UK.

Today’s publication: The International GP Recruitment Programme national guide for Australian GPs follows on from October’s announcement. Aimed at Australian GPs, it sets out the application process, explains who is eligible for the programme, lists the benefits of living and working as a GP in England, and describes the support that relocating GPs will receive.

The relocation package includes help with organising transport, finding a home, schools, nurseries, and relocation costs of up to £18,500.

The brochure also includes a section on ‘Living in England’.

“England is a country of many contrasts offering fast-paced city life, beautiful rural locations, mountains and a fantastic coastline,” it states. It continues: “Our diverse communities up and down the land are welcoming and offer amazing hospitality and a bewildering array of cuisines, music, cultures and languages.”

Commenting, Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, British Medical Association GP committee executive team workforce lead, said: “We know there are a severe shortage of GPs, and any initiative which supports boosting numbers must be encouraged. Australia, with its highly-trained [GPs], is just one country that we can look to when promoting opportunities for GPs in the NHS.

“There are of course costs associated with relocating and taking up a role – including training, regulation and induction – so it’s only right that these are covered if we are to encourage more GPs to come and work here, not just from Australia but elsewhere across the globe. This is ever more important given the background of Brexit, and uncertainty over future immigration arrangements, which means Britain is becoming a far less attractive destination for overseas doctors to work and train.”

He added: “General practice in the UK provides some of the best care to patients and opportunities for doctors around the world. It is hoped that overseas GPs will come to work in the UK to help deal with workforce shortages, however, more must be done to address the intense workload pressures and funding constraints to attract new doctors to the profession and keep those GPs with the most experience in practice.”

NHS England first announced that it would be recruiting 500 GPs from overseas in the GP Forward View in April 2016. The scheme has since been expanded, with NHS England expected to recruit between 2,000 and 3,000 GPs from overseas by 2020.