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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Golden hellos for GP locums to take posts

Full-time locums who take partnerships or salaried GP posts will get a 'golden hello' of up to £12,000, the Government announced last week.

Qualified GPs returning after a career break will also receive the cash.

The initiative, the latest Department of Health attempt to address worsening GP shortages, also extends the hospital doctors' Flexible Careers Scheme to GPs.

Practices employing a part-time GP will receive up to 50 per cent reimbursement.

The part-time GPs will have the option of limiting their hours, avoiding out-of-hours or not working in term time.

In addition, 'returners' will be assigned a personal co-ordinator from the local deanery to help them organise appropriate refresher courses.

David Amos, deputy human resources director for the NHS, said: 'People will come back if the organisation has changed, they're welcomed back and feel like they're proper members of the team.'

Who qualifies as a 'returner'?

 · GPs working exclusively as locums

 · Qualified GPs who are not working in general practice

 · GPs who have been off work through ill health

 · GPs who were not in a 'substantive GP post' on 24 September, 2002

What they get:

l£5,000; or £12,000 if the post is in an under-doctored area. Part-timers working less than half-time receive a pro-rata payment

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