Northamptonshire is set to welcome its first intake of international doctors under a new employment initiative aimed at bolstering the local general practice workforce.
The International GP Recruitment Programme kicked off in our county in April following the success of similar initiatives in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.
Candidates from across the European Union – including Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Lithuania – attended the first recruitment events in Kettering, where they were interviewed for vacancies at GP practices around Northamptonshire.
They also had the chance to visit the practices and take a tour of the county and discover what life in Northamptonshire has to offer.
Six doctors have since received conditional offers to work at GP surgeries in Kettering, Northampton, Wellingborough, Corby, Northampton and Rushden.
They will now attend a summer training residential to prepare them for their new roles in the UK before starting work in the autumn.
More appointments are set to be confirmed very soon, with further recruitment events due to be held later this year. A total of 20 GP practices from towns and villages around Northamptonshire are participating in the scheme, which is supported by NHS England, Health Education England and specialist international recruitment agency Paragona.
It is hoped the programme will recruit at least 22 new international doctors to fill vacancies at these surgeries. Catherine Wills, primary care workforce programme manager for Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership said: “This campaign has been fantastic for raising the profile of living and working in Northamptonshire. Our international colleagues have been really complimentary about their time with us.
“Six of the first eight interviewed have now gone on to accept offers with our practices and we look forward to welcoming them here throughout the summer. We aim to recruit more GPs by the end of the month and a further 12 before Christmas, which we hope will result in at least 22 international GPs joining us in Northamptonshire by the end of the year.”
“A wonderful opportunity” for overseas colleagues
Among the local GPs hoping to appoint new international recruits under the programme is Dr Leszek Piechowski, partner at Dryland Surgery in Kettering. Dr Piechowski feels particular enthusiasm for welcoming overseas colleagues to Northamptonshire given the experience of his own parents, who settled in England after arriving as refugees from Poland following the Second World War.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the doctors coming over,” he said. “This remains our green and pleasant land and it’s wonderful to share it.
“My family were recipients of a welcome from this wonderful land a generation ago, so to be able to extend another greeting to European and worldwide doctors is a deep joy for me personally. And of course we are also fortunate to be able to benefit from the skills and knowledge that they bring.”