A new report has highlighted the need for NHS regulations to be amended in order to make it easier for doctors who have emigrated or retired to secure GP jobs and return to the workforce.
Carried out by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the study has suggested that unnecessary levels of red tape are preventing many qualified doctors who have left the country or taken early retirement from finding new positions in the UK.
According to the RCGP's findings, a total of 5,229 GPs under the age of 50 have left general practice in the past five years and could still play a role in NHS care provision, including more than 3,000 doctors who are still under 40, reports Pulse.
Given there is currently a strong demand for GPs within the UK, the RCGP has allied with British Medical Association (BMA) to lobby NHS England to amend the guidelines governing the performers list, asking for them to be applied with greater flexibility to make it easier for GPs to return to practise in Britain.
While they accept that some checks need to be carried out to ensure doctors remain competent and capable of treating patients in the UK, the current guidance is resulting in qualified and able GPs having to go through lengthy assessment and revalidation procedures if they take a break from working in the UK.
RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: "We understand that NHS England have their job to do and it is imperative that doctors' skills are relevant and fit for purpose, but we cannot allow bureaucracy to get in the way of common sense - especially when there are consequences for our patients."
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA's GP committee, recommended that "a fully-funded returner programme, prioritising the funding for GP returners to train in under-doctored areas" would be an ideal solution to this issue.
Government figures show that the number of GPs per 100,000 members of the population in England has declined by 2.6 per cent since 2009, so helping doctors to return to the workforce more easily could be a positive step.
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