The non-EU rural GP programme to fast-track suitably qualified GPs and enable them to qualify to take a GMS list is progressing faster than anticipated, according to ICGP CEO Mr Fintan Foy.
The programme is one of the 10 solutions to workforce challenges proposed in the College’s Shaping the Future of General Practice document, published in October 2022.
The initiative, which has been undertaken in collaboration with the HSE, began this year with 25 GPs commencing the programme in February.
An additional 25 GPs started this month and there will be two additional entry points onto the programme before the end of 2023.
Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), Mr Foy said the ICGP was confident of reaching its target of 100 GPs enrolled by the end of the year. He added that the College hoped to have an additional 200 GPs on the programme in 2024.
“It has grown a little bit quicker than we expected, which is great,” Mr Foy told MI. “The nice thing about the programme is that these people bring value almost immediately because they are already qualified. They hit the ground running.”
To enrol on the two-year programme, non-EU GPs must already have at least three years’ general practice experience, according to Shaping the Future.
In addition, the non-EU GP must have experience in other clinical fields such as paediatrics and general medicine. They also need to pass the applicable English test required by the Medical Council.
While participating in the programme, the non-EU GP will have a named GP supervisor in a ‘host’ rural general practice.
The ICGP and the host practice provide ongoing educational supports and clinical supervision over the two-year period. Shaping the Future referred to how some non-EU GPs were working in Irish general practice without support or supervision, which raised patient safety issues.
Following completion, successful participants will undertake the MICGP exam to qualify for the specialist register and allow them to take a GMS list.
“The non-EU rural GP programme is an important component of the multi-faceted ICGP response to
our severe GP workforce crisis,” according to Shaping the Future.