£750k windfall to help ease GP shortage in north Cumbria
North Cumbria has secured more than £750,000 of national funding to help tackle a high-profile GP shortage.
The money will be used to help recruit 25 GPs from abroad to fill some of the many vacancies in the area.
North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is one of only three in the country to successfully secure the funding.
The money, totalling £755,000, is coming from NHS England through the General Practice Forward View (GPFV).
This was part of a pilot project which is now being replicated nationally to attract up to 2,000 new GPs into the NHS.
The CCG says there has been a great level of interest in the scheme, with many practices coming forward to take part.
It is anticipated that the GP placements will be for 6 to 12 months, and will take place over the next two years.
A recruitment agency has been appointed to help source potential GPs and guide them through a national induction and refresher scheme - which all overseas doctors must undertake before they can work independently in the UK.
The CCG says Cumbrian practices have been very supportive, providing the training placements required during the first months and supporting doctors with the training requirements.
A project team and a steering group - made up of practices managers, GP training scheme leads, Cumbria Health on Call, the CCG, the Local Medical Committee (LMC) and NHS England - has been established to support the practices and GPs when they arrive in Cumbria.
The CCGs adds that number of further initiatives are also being developed as part of the programme to help the GPs and their families with social integration, exploring career opportunities and support the GPs to stay in the county in the long term.
Caroline Rea, director of primary care for NHS North Cumbria CCG, said: “It was fantastic to receive this funding for the county and this initiative is a really positive step to tackle the challenges around GP recruitment.
"GPs who live and work here know it is a great place to work and this scheme will introduce these international GPs to our part of the world and the excellent work/life balance the county has to offer.
“There are a number of opportunities to train and develop professionally in the county with various links between our GPs and Cumbria’s hospitals. We can really help create roles within General Practice that can match ambition.
“There are few places as diverse as Cumbria, you can travel from an urban centre to the rurality of the fells and then to the seaside within an hour.”