Channel 4 News has featured Primary Care Professionals in a piece about how the company is recruiting much-needed GPs from the EU for the NHS throughout the UK.
The 6 minute film highlighted the current NHS crisis and skills shortage, with a nationwide struggle to fill vacant GP positions, overcrowded UK surgeries and GPs working 14 hour days.
In its GP Forward View, NHS England’s general practice workforce team has been engaging with regional and local colleagues, Health Education England (HEE) and stakeholders including Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the British Medical Association (BMA) to agree an approach for delivering the commitment to recruiting over 500 GPs from the EU.
Primary Care Professionals’s recent trip to Portugal was the second part of the company’s initiative to source GPs from across Europe, following a successful visit to Romania last November. Our CEO Tawhid Juneja says “We have embarked upon the most comprehensive and exciting initiative by partnering with carefully selected EU organisations and using our own international recruitment expertise to source the best EU GPs who want to work in the UK
“Whilst an LMC in Lincolnshire is investing £30 million in finding EU GPs that is just for just the recruitment process, which means it will cost them £60,000 for any GP that they hire. A key difference with our programme is that as a company we are making a substantial investment in the recruitment and the training of suitable candidates who we invite onto our Scholarship Programme.
“We are ensuring that our candidates fulfil either the GMC Requirements or the National Performers List requirements. Our candidates have to achieve 7.5 level of IELTs (International English Language Testing System). The Lincolnshire GPs don’t have to complete a formal IELTS exam.
“Also, the EU GPs for Lincolnshire are being offered salaries of £90,000, so each GP they recruit will cost them £130,000 plus the cost of the training they will need to be able to practice medicine in the UK.
“We are looking to create a long term sustainable solution to the GP crisis in the UK. Our emphasis is on quality and retention, as every GP practice is aware that long term GPs are far more cost effective than Locums and perhaps in some cases even salaried GPs. A locum can cost the NHS between £150,000 – £200,000 a year without any continuity of patient care.
“We have created our own company – funded Scholarship Programme, which provides all the training and relocation costs to the best candidates. It’s essential that the GPs we invite to participate are supported and nurtured by our team so that they can integrate into both the GP practice and UK culture as a whole.
“It’s not a ‘quick fix’ solution and we are making a substantial investment through not only our recruitment process but also in the people we have on board, including highly qualified clinical expert GP trainers and the subsequent after care once the EU GP is able to practice in the UK and placed in a new job.
“It’s a fact that there is a huge shortage of clinicians in the UK. The cost of training a GP in the UK is £610k and takes a minimum of 10 years. Currently training places are undersubscribed and General Practice is under pressure to relieve these. Also General Practice is not viewed as an attractive option for many junior doctors yet with more GPs in the workforce that perception would change and greatly help the NHS’ strategy on recruiting more GPs.
“Despite ‘Brexit’ I am confident that the UK government will welcome EU GPs with open arms while the NHS is in the middle of such a desperate GP crisis. The NHS is facing a meltdown in A&E departments and across the secondary care in general. What we are doing will help to transform primary care and in doing so relieve pressures on the secondary sector.”
Concludes Tawhid “The key problem is the recruitment of GPs and the capacity of the current workforce. Working 12-14 hour days is unfortunately seen as the norm for some partners but it shouldn’t be and is often to the detriment of patient care
“It is unprecedented for a recruitment company like ours to take this on board and it is a massive investment for us. It’s my goal to help to transform the NHS and it’s only through revolutionary initiatives such as ours that this is going to happen.”