Multi-million pound funding boost could help short-staffed GP surgeries in Suffolk to employ more doctors
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NHS bosses have announced a new wave of funding to boost the number of GPs across East Anglia.
More than £2million has been invested in NHS England’s international GP recruitment programme to recruit extra doctors for practices in regional areas.
Surgeries in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough could be set to benefit from the cash injection in weeks to come.
Dr Christopher Browning is a GP in Long Melford and chairman of West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
He said: “Like many other parts of the country, there is a shortage of GPs in Suffolk.
“While the evidence shows patients are generally very satisfied with the service they receive from their local GP practice, the International GP Recruitment Programme should go some way towards easing the current pressures in local health provision and is to be welcomed.”
NHS chiefs say they will commission recruitment providers to identify potential overseas doctors and support them through the hiring process, which is expected to take three years.
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A national recruitment centre will be set up to work with such providers and with commissioners to coordinate the programme.
Recruited GPs will then be allocated to practices.
However, before any of the doctors start they will need to pass stringent tests – including an English language test.
NHS England’s medical director for the Midlands and East, Dr Alistair Lipp, said: “Most new GPs will continue to be trained in this country, and general practice will benefit from the 25% increase in medical school places over the coming years.
“But the NHS has a proud history of ethically employing international medical professionals, with one in five GPs currently coming from overseas.
“This scheme will deliver new recruits to help improve services for our patients and reduce some of the pressure on hard working GPs in the area.”