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Starting in the autumn, recruiters will be paid £100 million to find enough doctors to fill NHS staffing gaps, as a seven day working week comes into force.
The NHS recruitment drive will take place over the next three and years, with an estimated 5,000 more GPs will be needed; with almost half coming from overseas.
With the NHS already having a GP shortage, the health secretary’s pledge to have doctors available every day of the week has seen an increased pressure on staffing numbers. The National Audit Office has also warned shortages of GPs has put “additional pressure on hospitals.”
This is the biggest contract put out to tender by the NHS on hiring staff from overseas since October 2014.
Dr Arvind Madan, from NHS England, said: “The NHS has a proud history of ethically employing international medical professionals, with one in five GPs currently coming from overseas.”
He also added, “This scheme will deliver new recruits to help improve services for patients and reduce some of the pressure on hard-working GPs across the country.”
Royal College of GPs chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said the NHS was “incredibly grateful for the skills and expertise” of GPs from overseas.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, of the British Medical Association, predicted even with the recruitment of doctors from abroad, the government would still fall “well short of its target of recruiting 5,000 new GPs by 2020”
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