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£20k ‘golden handshakes’ to be expanded to 200 GP trainees

More trainee GPs are set to be given £20,000 ‘golden hellos’ to work in parts of the country that have had difficulty recruiting, health secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce today.

Practices that have seen training places remain vacant for a number of years will be able to offer trainees a financial incentive under an expansion of the ‘Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme’ (TERS) in 2018, which will offer up to 200 trainees a one-off payment of £20,000 to take on a training position. 

TERS was launched in 2016 offering 109 GP trainee places and expanded earlier this year to 144 GP trainee places in certain areas.

The scheme was revealed by Pulse to be one of the flagship measures for tackling stubbornly low uptake of GP training places.

TERS accounted for half of the 200 extra doctors recruited to GP training after two rounds of recruitment last year, while training boards in Wales launched their own version of the scheme last year.

The Department of Health has also asked HEE to ensure that many of the 1,500 additional medical training places that are to be funded from next year are located in these hard to recruit areas.

Last year, the health secretary announced plans to fund an additional 1,500 medical training places from September 2018, which it has proposed would go to medical schools that aim to boost GP trainee numbers by exposing students to general practice

Speaking at the RCGP conference today in Liverpool, Mr Hunt will say that ‘the profession is under considerable pressure at the moment’.

He will add: ‘By introducing targeted support for vulnerable areas and tackling head on critical issues such as higher indemnity fees and the recruitment and retention of more doctors, we can strengthen and secure general practice for the future.’

Professor Wendy Reid, director of education and quality & national medical director for HEE, said the organisation has ‘honoured its commitment’ to invest in GP training by increasing the number of training positions and spending £500m a year on GP training.

She said: ‘More doctors than ever before are entering general practice and this is illustrated by the GP training fill rate figures for 2016 which at 3,019 is the highest number ever.’