NHS England is targeting Australia in its latest drive to boost GP numbers.
The group intends to target GPs who left the UK for Australia and are looking to return home, as well as GPs from Australia who want the opportunity to work in their field in Britain.
The international recruitment drive - designed to bring in 2,000 GPs by 2020 - has already encouraged applications from more than 1,200 GPs in Europe.
“We are pulling out all the stops to solve the shortage of GPs that’s why we are commissioning two specialist UK recruitment agencies to target Aussie doctors and stretch our search for top talent from Europe to the other side of the world,” said Dominic Hardy, NHS England’s director of Primary Care Delivery.
“Our message is that we want to encourage doctors to think about practising as a GP in England and we will support them all the way.”
New recruits from overseas will be offered enhanced relocation packages and other assistance, NHS England said, and also confirmed that GPs from Australia could also see the application procedure cut from a year to around three months because of a new streamlined Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR).
“Australia is the first country we have evaluated because we know their training and experience is similar to that of the UK and there are doctors wanting to come to the UK but it has always been an arduous process for them,” said RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard.
“The streamlined system is intended to cut out a huge amount of bureaucracy, and bring these doctors into placements and work much quicker than before.”