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National GP returners scheme to be rolled out as NHS England kicks off workforce strategy



Exclusive The first initiative from NHS England’s £10m strategy to solve GP recruitment crisis will be a national ‘induction and refresher’ scheme for GPs returning to UK general practice, Pulse can reveal.

Speaking at the Commissioning Live conference in London today, GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the scheme would be a ‘huge improvement’ on the current process, which varies across the country, and would reduce the bureaucracy of returning to practice in England from having worked abroad or left the profession.

NHS England announced in January that it was earmarking £10m for a ‘new deal’ for general practice, to tackle the GP workforce crisis developed in collaboration with GP representatives.

The ten-point plan included incentivising older GPs to stay on working, offering financial incentives to new GPs for working in under-doctored areas and a marketing campaign to medical students.

It also included a scheme to make it easier for GPs to return to the profession, and Dr Nagpaul said that this will be the first initiative to be detailed, in an announcement next week.

As it currently stands, there is huge variation across the country in the process that must be undertaken by GPs wishing to return to the performers’ list, involving the local education and training board and the NHS England area team.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘I am pleased to say that we are on the verge of launching the first initiative which is around a national induction and refresher scheme, which is to enable doctors, who are GPs but they have left the country or they have stopped working, to come back without the bureaucracy they currently face.

‘For a GP who has worked in Australia for three years, at the moment it is a huge, huge task to come back to work in England. It is key to allow a fast track, and a less bureaucratic approach.’

Asked to explain more about the scheme, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey declined to give further details but said the plans ‘are virtually finalised’.

He said: ‘It follows significant pressure from ourselves to actually get this in place and I think it is a big improvement from where we have been in recent years. It is welcome news and we hope it can be released as soon as possible so that returning GPs can start to use the scheme.’