EU GPs to be paid £80k but pay NHS back if they quit, contract reveals

GPs hired as part of NHS England’s flagship international recruitment scheme will be paid up to £80,000 per year, according to a national contract.

The contract says that the overseas recruits will have to pay back NHS England up to £9,000 if they decide to leave the three-year programme early.

NHS England has said this annual salary is in line with the average annual income for salaried GPs.

However this is £10,000 less than GPs recruited to the pilot site in Lincolnshire. They were promised a £90k salary once they completed the induction and refresher scheme.

The truth about… NHS England’s international GP recruitment scheme

The ‘learning agreement’ to be signed by NHS England, the international GP and their clinical advisor, outlines the terms and conditions of the national recruitment programme, including salary ranges for the new recruits.

According to the agreement, once the GP has completed the induction and refresher scheme, they can expect to be earning up to £80,000 per year or up to £72,000 if they’re working outside of London. 

International GPs recruited onto the programme are first put on to induction and refresher scheme, which finishes with placements in practices of up to six months.

While undertaking the induction and refresher scheme, the GPs will be paid £3,500 per month, ‘until the participant has gained entry to the National Medical Performers list’.

Once on the list, the contract says practices ‘should offer terms and conditions that are no less favourable than the model salaried GP contract’.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, workforce lead for the BMA’s GP Committee, said: ‘General practice is in the midst of a recruitment and retention crisis, and so we welcome moves to hire experienced and talented doctors from overseas to support the NHS workforce.

‘The BMA has been watching closely as key stakeholders work hard to roll out this initiative, and we support the decision to offer international GPs the model salaried contract, by which they should expect terms no less favourable than any other salaried GP working in England.’ 

However, if the newly recruited GP decides to quit the three-year programme during or after the induction and refresher scheme, they could have to repay up to £9,000 to NHS England. 

This figure decreases the longer the GP stays in the programme, with GPs that leave the programme but stay practicing in the UK also having to repay less.

The contract says: 'If upon completion of the induction and refresher scheme the participant does not remain with the identified employing organisation for the remainder of the three-year programme, the candidate agrees to repayment of a proportion of their International GP training salary provided during the preparatory phase and induction and refresher scheme period, to a maximum of £9,000 and subject always to the participant receiving at least the applicable National Minimum Wage ('NMW') for the work the participant has carried out to that point.' 

The news comes as GPs continue to leave the profession in droves, with the latest figures revealing the 1,000 GPs have left since 2015.

It also comes as according to the lastest figures just 85 GPs from overseas are in post nearly two years after the launch of the EU GP recruitment scheme.

An NHS England spokesperson said: 'We have worked with partners, including the BMA, to make sure that doctors recruited from overseas have terms and conditions, including pay, which are consistent with GPs who have trained and qualified here.'

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