[A]ttempts to recruit GPs from abroad to work in Cumbria has been given national backing. To support the international recruitment of 25 GPs to west, north and east Cumbria NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group was one of only three CCGs to successfully secure funding for £755K this year.
This was part of a pilot project which is now being replicated nationally to attract up to 2000 new GPs into the NHS. The CCG was awarded funding from NHS England through the General Practice Forward View (GPFV) with North Cumbria one of only 3 areas in the country to successfully apply to take part in this initiative.
There has been a great level of interest towards the scheme with many practices coming forward to take part. It is anticipated that the GP placements will be for 6-12 months taking place over the next two years.
A recruitment agency has been appointed to help source potential GPs and guide them through a national process called the ‘Induction and Refresher Scheme’, which all overseas GPs must undertake before they can work independently in the UK.
Cumbria practices have been very supportive providing the training placements required during the first months, as well as supporting the Doctors to complete the training requirements for this ‘Induction and Refresher scheme’.
A project team and a steering group made up of practices managers, GP training scheme leads, Cumbria Health on Call, the CCG, the LMC (Local Medical Committee) and NHS England has been established to support the GPs and the training practices, when the GPs arrive in Cumbria.
A number of further initiatives are also being developed as part of the programme to help the GPs and their families with social integration, exploring career opportunities and support the GPs to stay in the county in the long term. To help families settle here some GPs have taken part in preparation weekends to help the new GPs prepare for the challenging ‘Induction and Refresher scheme’. In addition to receiving an induction and training for the subsequent entrance exams, the weekend also provides GPs with the opportunity to meet practice staff and representatives from our local health economy and experience life in Cumbria.
Caroline Rea, Director of Primary Care for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group Said: “It was fantastic to receive this funding for the county and this initiative is a really positive step to tackle the challenges around GP recruitment. GPs who live and work here know it is a great place to work and this scheme will introduce these international GPs to our part of the world and the excellent work/life balance the county has to offer.
“There are a number of opportunities to train and develop professionally in the county with various links between our GPs and Cumbria’s hospitals. We can really help create roles within General Practice that can match ambition.
“There are few places as diverse as Cumbria, you can travel from an urban centre to the rurality of the fells and then to the seaside within an hour.”