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NHS England to run campaign to encourage GPs to return to profession

NHS England to run campaign to encourage GPs to return to profession

NHS England will run a campaign to encourage departed GPs to return to the profession, working for practices or NHS 111, by promoting ‘flexible roles where, for example, working from home is possible’.

The Government has also pledged to ‘make it easier’ for qualified GPs to return to practice, from this month, by replacing the current assessment structure with a personalised pathway. 

Encouraging experienced GPs who have left general practice to return is part of the wider ambition, laid out in today’s recovery plan, to build primary care capacity.

In addition to the new assessment pathway, from April NHS England has committed to increasing the monthly bursary for returning GPs who ‘would benefit from a placement in general practice’ from £3,500 to £4,000.

The plan said: ‘NHS England already welcomes over 100 qualified GPs every year through the GP Return to Practice and International Induction programmes.

‘From May 2023, we are making it easier for doctors to return by replacing the fixed set of multiple assessments with an individual pathway based on personal review.’ 

The Return to Practice (RtP) scheme provides a supported pathway for qualified GPs, who have previously been on the GMC GP Register and England Medical Performers List (MPL), to return after an absence of more than two years.

While the International Induction Programme (IIP) facilitates a pathway for overseas qualified GPs, who have never previously worked in general practice in the UK, to get on the register and MPL.

The current requirements for completion of both schemes include assessments such as a Workplace Based Assessment (WPBA), mandatory e-learning modules, and a placement.

In April, the Government made changes to the NHS Pension Scheme to promote retention and returners, including completely removing the 16-hour rule which had meant members who take their pension benefits can only return to work for a maximum of 16 hours per week in their first month back.

The recovery plan said: ‘GP numbers are not where we would like them to be, and it will take time for higher training numbers to work their way through. 

‘We will do more to bring new doctors into general practice, retain those working today and encourage recent leavers to return.’

As well as the changes to the GP returner process, the plan also set out the Government’s work to grow practice teams with newer roles, make it easier for IMG doctors to stay in the UK after GP training, and improve GP retention. 

However, it suggested the long-awaited workforce plan, due to be published ‘shortly’, will go further by laying out ‘ambitious plans to significantly expand GP specialty training and ensure the NHS can recruit and retain the GP workforce it needs in the future’.

The recovery plan also announced proposals to enable patients to get prescription medicine directly from the pharmacist without the need for a GP appointment for seven common conditions, and pledged £240m funding for practices to move away from analogue systems to digital telephony.


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Dave Haddock 9 May, 2023 6:53 pm

Encouraging GPs to return by having made the job even more sh#t than when they left.

John Graham Munro 9 May, 2023 8:16 pm

I advised locums during the Pandemic that their time will come after shabby treatment from many Practices. Well it’s here.

Turn out The Lights 10 May, 2023 10:22 am

After spending over a decade encouraging them to leave!

Dr No 14 May, 2023 1:13 pm

DoH and NHSE policy/pronouncements bearing essentially zero connection with reality. I can’t decide if they are venal or stupid. Possibly both. Anyway I retired last year and am now working half time. The imposed contract and access requirements are making me think about jacking it in completely. Idiots.

John Evans 30 June, 2023 2:15 pm

After retiring on my pensions the £4000 per month would be taxed 40% plus 10% NIC.

I would have professional expenses. As a result I would be taking home £1500 per month for working full time as a GP returner. Then, if I returned full-time in a salaried role perhaps increase by a further £1000 per month.

Not inconsequential amounts, although not hugely appealing increases in income considering that I am a qualified professional investing significant time under pressure with significant associated risks.
Glad that my circumstances mean that I don’t have to.

I believe that they instead need to address the conditions / pressures / risks in which doctors are working to more effectively influence retention/returner decisions.