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Practices offered £10,000 a year to support development of new GPs

NHS England is offering £10,000 per newly qualified GP to support them with their continued professional development as part of two schemes from this year’s GP contract, it announced yesterday.

It announced details of its fellowship scheme, which will provide practices with funding to allow their newly qualified GPs to spend a session a week doing CPD, plus a sum for administrative fees.

And it also detailed the mentoring scheme, which will fund experienced GPs up to £289 a week to provide mentorship to younger GPs for a session.

The fellowship scheme has been running since 2019, but the guidance detailing the funding was only released yesterday.

Under the two-year fellowship scheme:

  • Practices will be given £7,200 to provide backfill GP cover, plus £3,000 for ‘programme delivery’, including administration and CPD costs
  • The CPD will be focused on ‘PCN portfolio working, learning and development post-registration, supporting nurses and GPs to take up substantive roles, understand the context they are working in’;
  • Newly qualified GPs will undertake ‘rotational placements within or across PCNs to develop experience and support transition into the workforce’.

NHS England say that the aim is for 100% of newly qualified GPs to go through the scheme.

The mentorship scheme will allow more experienced GPs to train as ‘mentors’, which will result in a industry recognised qualification.

Those that are accepted onto the scheme and go through the qualifications will be provided with £289 per weekly session to provide mentoring to a number of newly qualified GPs.

The mentors will have to be doing at least three clinical sessions a week alongside this.

In a letter to GPs yesterday on expanding the GP workforce in 2020/21, Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England medical director for primary care, and Ed Waller, primary care strategy director, wrote: ‘We have now published the arrangements for the GP fellowship scheme and the GP mentors scheme. We encourage all practices and PCNs to make maximum use of all three schemes.

‘Systems and CCGs will need to put local implementation arrangements in place for the fellowship and mentors scheme, working with their training hubs. The ambition is that as close to 100% as possible of newly-qualified GPs participate in the general practice fellowship scheme.’

Dr Simon Hodes, a GP partner in Watford, said this ‘looks like an exciting new development’.

He added: ‘It can be a difficult and stressful transition from working as a GP registrar one day to being a fully independent GP working autonomously. The role of the GP is becoming increasingly complex, and in my opinion any scheme that offers mentorship to newly qualified GPs can only help to support them through the first few years of independent practice.

‘My own hope is that this scheme will improve job satisfaction, allow for more informed decisions on career path and this will hopefully improve job satisfaction for new GPs and overall retention within the profession, which is essential with falling numbers of GPs.’