Whilst the announcement by the NHS to launch a new pilot in the North East to recruit more GPs from overseas will provide some much-needed relief for general practice in the short term, it does not go far enough to address the recruitment crisis underpinning general practice.
Overseas doctors make a valuable contribution to the NHS and will undoubtedly alleviate some of the pressure on general practice in the region as staff shortages have left many practices struggling to provide enough appointments and services to the public.
Yet despite repeated promises from the government, the latest figures show only a marginal increase of barely 1% in the GP workforce in England, and many that do work in the NHS are considering quitting the profession as the added stress of working under increasing pressure takes its toll.
The government must recruit homegrown doctors and ensure that they are adequately supported throughout their career so as to encourage to stay before GP services are pushed to the brink of collapse.
Dr George Rae
BMA North East regional council chair and GP in Tyne and Wear,