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Next RCGP chair plans GP returners programme

The next RCGP chair is set to launch a campaign to reduce the barriers stopping GPs returning to work in a bid to plug the current shortage in the profession.

RCGP chair elect Maureen Baker, who will succeed Professor Clare Gerada as RCGP chair in November, said that she would be campaigning strongly for a change in the regulations which mean that at present it is very difficult for GPs who have not worked in the NHS for the last two years to get back into NHS general practice.

She said there was an urgent need to develop a strategy to ‘get the most of the trained GP workforce in the short term.’

She added that this would involve an increase in funding from the NHS in order to both train more GPs in the long-term and help retain more GPs in the short term.

Dr Baker said said that the barriers stopping GPs returning to work or increasing the number of hours they work needed to be removed.

She said: ‘This is about both increasing retention rates which is a real problem, and making sure any barriers to people working or working more are removed.

‘At present GPs who want to come back into the NHS must apply to their deanery – who must identify a practice where they can be mentored – and get back onto the performers list. 

‘Some deaneries and practices have funding for this and some don’t, there is a whole rainbow of different provision.’