Windfall for recruitment consultants as NHS spends £100m to hire 3,000 overseas GPs
NHS England is set to pay recruitment consultants £20,000 for each foreign GP they bring to the UK as part of a new hiring spree.
The health service aims to sign up some 3,000 family doctors from overseas to help ease the pressure on GP practices in England.
It is part of a wider pledge from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to boost GP numbers by 5,000 by 2020.
Recent figures show the overall number of family doctors actually fell by 439 from September last year to this June.
While NHS England initially wanted to recruit just 500 doctors from overseas, it has massively increased the number to deal with what it says is "a gap between the number of doctors practices want and the numbers they are successfully recruiting and retaining".
But Labour said the new initiative showed ministers were not getting on top of recruitment problems.
“This is yet another example of the government’s financial mismanagement of our NHS and their lack of action when it comes to the GP workforce," said Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth.
"Under the Tories, general practice is being stretched to breaking point, and patients are being let down as a result.”
Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said the news was a sign of an "abysmal lack of progress" on GP recruitment.
“Enormous sums that could have been spent on improving patient care will instead now be paid to recruitment agencies," he said.
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