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120 GPs return to practice as part of returner scheme

The national returner scheme to encourage more GPs who have taken time out of practising in the UK back to the workforce has signed up 120 GPs since last March, new figures show.

The scheme was launched as part of the ‘ten-point’ workforce strategy to rescue general practice, in a bid to make it simpler and more attractive financially for GPs to return to practice after a career break or period spent working abroad.

Health Education England (HEE) confirmed the new figures – published in board papers ahead of NHS England’s board meeting tomorrow – indicate 120 GPs have signed up with a view to returning.

Under the scheme, GPs returning to work or can get bursaries of £2,300 a month to work under supervision while they wait to get back on the performers list, while practices get £8,000 a year to take them on.

The initiative has been given the backing of GP leaders, after the RCGP said as many as 5,000 GPs could be brought back into the workforce if the process of returning was made easier.

The papers state: ‘A new GP induction and refresher scheme has been launched, as part of the GP workforce 10 point plan, with 120 GPs already registered to return to practice.’

HEE was unable to say what stage their applications were at, or where they were proposing to work.

However, Pulse revealed last month that of the first 60 GPs registered to return under the scheme, only two were in areas with the greatest shortage of GP trainees.