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Health board resorts to drastic measures to attract applicants for GP job

Winter is coming.

And Northern Ireland needs doctors. The country has a shortage of GPs, particularly in rural areas.

Such is the immediacy of the requirement that the health board has been using cult TV show Game of Thrones in its recruitment drive.

The Health and Social Care Board (HSC) tapped into one of Northern Ireland's greatest assets in modern times – the fact its rugged terrain is the setting for Game of Thrones filming.

Tweeting a GP role with the hashtag is an unusual move, but desperate times need desperate measures.

Game of Thrones, anyone?

Could you be a GP in the picturesque village of Glenarm, famed for being a #GameofThrones location? More here > https://t.co/0R4A4N0uUN pic.twitter.com/1RvtU915ck

— HSC Board (@HSCBoard) October 19, 2016

The HSC used the HBO drama to cast light on a GP post in Glenarm, Country Antrim.

"Dr Benedict Glover, GP in the Antrim Coast Medical Practice, Glenarm, is resigning after 50 years of service, with effect from 1 April 2017," the board says of the position.

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Given Game of Thrones' popularity, Northern Ireland has seen a huge influx in tourism since the show began filming there.

But while the country is doing well in some areas, doctors isn't one of them.

Even Jon Snow might struggle to get an appointment

HBO Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones

The BMA says the shortage of GPs in Northern Ireland is now "critical".

Dr Tom Black, from the BMA, told the BBC that the dwindling workforce in rural areas makes it more difficult to attract young doctors to work there.

Also, the Queen's University medical students only do 5 per cent of their training in GP practices - less than any other university in the UK.

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