Hundreds of general practitioners (GPs) are being recruited from India to help fill the growing demand-supply vacuum in general practice, and to meet a UK government pledge to add 5000 doctors by 2020.
Health Education England, (HEE) the non-departmental body of the Department of Health responsible for NHS training, has signed an MoU with a major hospital chain in India.
The deal with Apollo Hospitals will involve the transfer of up to 400 GPs to England but HEE said the details are still under discussion.
The Chennai hospital chain has a 500 pounds turnover and offers a diploma in family medicine that is accredited by the Royal College of GPs. Apollo Hospitals said it signed the MoU as a ‘starting point’ to explore how both countries can benefit from the exchange of ideas and clinical staff. They look forward to announcing the outcome of the work over the coming months and years.
Workloads increased over the last 7 years as family doctors in England deal with more frequent and longer consultations while the rate of GPs has decreased, according to a study in The Lancet.
Dr Umesh Prabhu, former chair and current member of the British International Doctors Association executive committee and a consultant pediatrician in Wigam warned that the Apollo deal was ‘a dangerous move’. The Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Maureen Baker said any doctors arriving from outside the EU would have to pass the GMC’s Professional Linguistic and Assessments Board test.