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Visa problems mean NHS is losing UK trained GPs, doctors warn

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5642 (Published 04 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5642
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

The NHS is losing GPs from overseas who have trained in the UK, because of difficulties and delays in applying for visas, doctors have warned.

Last month the House of Commons Health Committee put out a call for examples of cases where GPs from outside the European Economic Area had been unable to work or had been forced to leave the UK because of visa problems.1

In August NHS England announced that it would aim to employ 600 GPs from overseas in 2017-18 and “at least” 2000 doctors from overseas by 2020-21. The NHS will spend £100m (€110m; $130m) on agency fees over the next three years to recruit these doctors.2

Despite these ambitions, figures shared with The BMJ in July showed that only 38 GPs had been recruited through the International GP Recruitment Programme.3

John Coffey, a GP and training programme director from Lincolnshire, said it was frustrating that the NHS was actively recruiting GPs overseas when GPs who trained in the …

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