“2,000 GPs to be recruited from overseas for the UK” How does it compare with Australia’s experience?
24th July 2017 | GP News
The NHS has revised its plans for overseas recruitment of GPs and is now going to be looking for 2,000 GPs from overseas to come to the UK. In a recent interview with Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, he said that the NHS would need to quadruple their original target of 500.
It looks like they will be expanding the countries they’ll be recruiting from too. As well as looking for doctors within the EU, Mr Stevens mentioned Australia and New Zealand as targets
The plan is all part of the NHS commitment to have an additional 5,000 GPs in place by 2020. The majority will still be UK trained but the overseas element is now 40% of the total.
And how does this compare with how Australia has recruited of GPs for their practices?
- Just to put the figures into context: The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has registered 1,848 overseas-trained GPs in the past 7 years (January 2010 to November 2016) to work as fully-fledged GPs (ie equivalent to an Australian-trained GP). This is 264 per year. (By the way, 84% of these came from the UK – so 1,552 in the 7 years – an average of 220 per year).
- So if Australia has been able to recruit just over 260 GPs per year, to come and work in a country where pay, work pressure and lifestyle are significantly better than in the UK, it is going to be quite a challenge to find enough GPs to come to the UK.
- The registration process for UK or Irish GPs to work in Australia is relatively straightforward, published on the RACGP website and based on equivalence of UK / Irish qualifications with Australian training. As things stand at the moment, registering a GP who trained outside of the EU with the GMC is a complex and expensive process, done on an individual basis and takes about 12 months.
- There are about 35,000 FTE (Full time equivalent) GPs in the UK. There are currently about 23,000 FTE GPs in Australia. So, there is no question that the UK is short of GPs it’s just not clear if recruiting from overseas is the solution