Whilst the announcement by the NHS to launch a 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.
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 one per cent in the GP workforce in England, and many who do work in the NHS are considering quitting the profession as working under increasing pressure takes its toll.
The Government must recruit home-grown doctors and ensure that they are adequately supported throughout their career to encourage them to stay before GP services are pushed to the brink of collapse.
Dr George Rae
BMA North East Regional Council Chairman