City plans innovative recruitment drive to tackle shortages of family doctors

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Health chiefs in Yorkshire are planning an innovative recruitment drive to find new GPs to plug shortages in their city.

Officials in Hull hope nine family doctors can be attracted to work there under the programme being launched in coming weeks.

Hull and large parts of South Yorkshire are among a number of areas in the country where there is a shortage of family doctors.

Major efforts are underway nationwide to find more doctors to take up a career in the profession amid concerns significant numbers will be retiring in coming years at a time when care is being shifted out of hospitals into the community giving them a bigger role in delivering NHS care.

Doctors will be expected to sign up to work in Hull for six years but will be given a range of experience in the city, as well as offered a six-month sabbatical to work abroad.

GP Mike Holmes, associate medical director at NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, said the new recruitment was part of the Hull 2020 initiative to transform health and social care.

Doctors would rotate through a number of roles including working at different practices, with further opportunities to carry out research at the Hull-York Medical School, develop commissioning skills, work in public health and take on posts with a special interest in older people’s care including transferring patients out of hospital.

The sabbatical element would allow doctors to travel overseas and bring back the skills they have learned to be used in Hull.

Dr Holmes said 22 per cent of GPs were over 55 nationally and there were difficulties recruiting GPs to fill places on training schemes.

“People are living longer, there are increasing numbers requiring care and many end up in hospital. Demands on primary care are increasing at the same time as we are struggling to recruit,” he said.

“We are hoping this package will be attractive and draw people into the region. It’s not something I’ve seen anywhere else.”