Enhanced Primary and Community Care Programme - International GP recruitment takes a step forward and work to expand Integrated Care Teams continues

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The recruitment of GPs outside of the UK to come to work in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent forms part of our work to provide sustainable general practice services.

We’re pleased that several practices have expressed an interest in recruiting an international GP to their ranks. These practices have subsequently received a copy of the learning agreement produced by the national international GP recruitment programme and we look forward to seeing where this leads.

We’ve also launched a marketing campaign with the British Medical Journal to promote living and working in Northern Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

The Physicians Associates (PA) programme is going from strength to strength, with two PAs having been retained in general practice locally after completing their internship. In addition, one PA is working a session a week to support North Staffordshire GP Federation with developing the internship.

The next cohort of eight PA trainees will begin the course subject to passing their national exams in November 2018 and we are looking to expand the scheme further in 2019 by taking on another six PAs subject to funding from NHS England.

Physician Associates are medically trained healthcare professionals. The internship allows PAs to spend three days a week working in general practice and the other two days as part of an acute or mental health team.

Meanwhile, our work on introducing Integrated Care Teams (ICTs) across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is gaining pace.

ICTs bring together general practice, community and mental health services, social care professionals and the voluntary and independent sector to provide a coordinated approach to improving the health of their local communities.

There will be 23 ICTs in total, based around neighbouring GP practices and serving populations of between 30-70,000 people.

Our early adopter ICTs are already making their mark and learning from the teams operating in Meir in Stoke-on-Trent and Lichfield is being used to inform the development of ICTs in Leek and Biddulph.

We’ve set up a steering group to oversee the delivery of ICTs within each of the 23 localities and look forward to progressing this change to community service provision.