NHS successful global recruitment means 14 GP vacancies have been filled across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland

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GP InternationalA total of 14 GP vacancies in local practices have been filled as a result of an international recruitment scheme that aims to reduce reliance on locum doctors.

The new recruits, supported and funded by Health Education England (HEE) and NHS England, are being brought into post during August and October.

Many of the GPs bring with them over 20 years medical experience in their home countries. The doctors have each attended a comprehensive training programme to aid their transition into UK medical practice. Before commencing work in local practice they will be registered by the General Medical Council (GMC) like all GPs practicing in the UK, while they must also achieve a certified medical language skills qualification.

Support for integration

Extra support such as arranging living accommodation and information on local schooling is also provided to the GPs and their families to help them integrate into life in the UK.

The doctors have moved to the UK from Spain, Lithuania, Greece, Latvia and Hungary to establish themselves as permanent salaried GPs in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Practices which have recruited through the scheme will attain training status for their practice. This means that they are approved to train even more doctors who either come into the UK from other countries or medical graduates from the UK.

Currently Leicester’s universities are fully subscribed with students wishing to become GPs. This means that the demand is there and with more practices converting to training practices, there will be more training options for graduates locally, who will hopefully stay in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland after completing their training. By 2020, 30 practices in total across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will have achieved training status.

Dr Nil Sanganee, clinical lead on the International GP Recruitment programme, speaking on behalf of the three CCGs in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, said: “This is fantastic news for our local practices and patients. This is only the start of the plans we have to recruit more GPs into primary care. It takes five years to graduate from medical school. Meanwhile those practices who have recruited an international GP will gain training status and will be able to train more and more GPs in the future. It means we get to retain and recruit highly skilled individuals, who really want to make a difference for patients.”

Recruitment challenge

GP recruitment has historically been a challenge across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Primary care has had to be heavily reliant on locum doctors as a many of the current workforce are either reaching retirement or are still in medical training and this scheme responds to the GP workforce challenges we face.

Dr Lucian Ghergus, internationally recruited GP at The Banks Surgery, Sileby, said: “I feel very honoured and grateful to have been chosen for this exceptional position. Being an IGP in Leicestershire is a unique privilege for me because I am having the opportunity to practice medicine in the NHS which is the best healthcare system in the world. I will have the opportunity to further improve my medical knowledge, skills and experience while working with the existing doctors and team. I embrace the different cultures of our patients. My intention is to give back to my patients the most that I can and offer excellent medical services which I have always been doing as a doctor in Greece.”

Dr Gopi Boora, CCG Governing body Member and GP at Westcotes Medical Practice, has recruited two of the international GPs. He added: “The International GP Recruitment Programme is a fantastic and exciting opportunity to recruit and employ full time GPs enabling us to provide continuity of care for our patients. We have also achieved training status to the practice via this programme which means that we are now able to train more doctors to safeguard the future of general practice. We are quite impressed about the process of recruitment and the training provided so that the individuals are able to start work quickly. We look forward to working with them and may recruit more in the future.”

Sharon Clay, Managing Partner of The Banks Surgery in Sileby, said: “We are delighted to have recruited two GPs through the International GP recruitment scheme. Many of the doctors already spoke good English and had experience of working as GPs in their own countries. The most exciting part for us was that many candidates shared the same values as us in terms of patient care and were strongly committed to the NHS in the UK.  I think we forget how lucky we are to have the NHS and how much it is admired and respected overseas.” 

The three CCGs across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have just received confirmation from NHS England who funds the programme, that the second group of international GPs will be joining city and county practices from January 2020.

A short video has also been produced in partnership with the Banks Surgery in Sileby about the process of becoming an international GP in the UK and Dr Ghergus’ personal experience: