LMCs have called on the GPC to push for general practice to be added to the UK shortage occupation list to help practices struggling with long-term vacancies recruit GPs from overseas.
Delegates approved a motion at the LMCs conference urging the UK Visa Bureau to add general practice to the UK shortage occupation list so they can employ doctors from outside of the EEA to fill vacancies.
Proposing the motion, Dr Henry Akpabio from Redbridge LMC said many occupations – including nurses, paramedics, artists, dancers, choreographers, musicians and chefs – are already on the list.
Other medical specialties, including emergency medicine and psychiatry, are also already on the list, he said.
Akpabio told the conference that the recruitment situation is about to get serious for the NHS.
“This list is an official list of occupations for which there is not enough resident workers. Employers who wish to recruit outside of the EEA and Switzerland have to go through this list to see whether that vacancy is approved so that they can issue a certificate of occupation.”
And the doctor went on to assert that general practice is particularly under threat.
“We want general practice on the list because it meets all the requirements. We have a diminishing workforce and more and more are retiring earlier due to the present workload, so we need to employ people from other places.”
Dr Mark Sanford-Wood of the General Practitioners Committee stated that the GPC had already pushed for this and “would very warmly welcome you supporting this to empower us” in negotiations.
The full-time equivalent GP workforce had dropped by 445 in the three months to December, according to official figures.
This is despite the fact that the government has promised to recruit a further 5,000 GPs by the end of the decade.