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GP practices to share slice of £200k golden hello investment

NHS Leicester City CCG is giving local practices £211,665 to use as a ‘golden hello’ in an effort to attract GPs and specialist nurses to work in the area.

Of that funding, the CCG will spend £66,665 on five GP positions, while £135,000 will be spent on nine advanced nurse practitioners and £10,000 on an emergency care practitioner.

The practices that are recruiting GPs can expect to receive the money in monthly instalments over two years.

However, if the GP leaves the job within six months the practice will have to repay all of the money to the CCG.

This decreases to 75% of the money if the GP leaves between six and 12 months, and 50% if they leave between one and two years after taking up the post.

The CCG investment – which includes £107,820 from the area’s GP resilience fund – is an expansion of a scheme that was launched in 2014 with an initial budget of £312,500.

NHS Leicester City CCG board papers said it has received 27 bids for the funding for GPs, nurses and emergency care practitioners, of which it has approved 15 bids.

The paper, from the CCG’s primary care committee, said the aim of the scheme was ‘supporting practices to successfully recruit to vacancies and maintain a stable GP workforce’.

It added that ‘effective recruitment’ was ‘an urgent priority’ in order to maintain the city’s GP services.

It comes as the area has previously come under fire from NHS England for failing to support general practice in its sustainability and transformation plan.

But Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, GPC lead for education, training and workforce, said evidence shows that golden hellos have ‘a small impact in moving GPs from one region to another’.

He said: ‘For parts of East Midlands and other areas of the country, the main underlying problem is that the number of full-time GPs is falling as many decide to leave the profession or retire earlier.

‘Many GPs are voting with their feet because of the daily struggle of trying to provide enough appointments to patients without the resources or support they need.’

Dr Kasaraneni added that Brexit could see the GP shortage get worse in the years to come. 

He said: ‘With the NHS at breaking point, we need the politicians to take the evidence of a workforce crisis seriously in the weeks leading up to the general election and come up with a long-term, well-funded plan that results in more GPs being available to treat the public across the country.’

Meanwhile, NHS England is expanding a £20,000 ‘golden handshake’ scheme for GP trainees taking up positions in some rural, remote or deprived areas after it did attract GPs to difficult areas.