GPs to be offered £20,000 inducement to work in rural areas

12 Oct 17

Trainee GPs will receive a £20,000 ‘golden hello’ if they work in areas struggling to recruit, such as rural and coastal areas, Jeremy Hunt has announced today.

The health secretary also said flexible working arrangements for GPs will be introduced, as part of a package of measures focused on recruitment and retention in general practice.

General practice as a profession was “under considerable pressure at the moment”, he told the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Conference in Liverpool.

“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.”

Surgeries in areas where training places have been unfilled for a number of years will benefit from the government-backed ‘targeted enhanced recruitment scheme’ from next year.

The Department of Health has asked the training body Health Education England to make sure many of the 1,500 additional medical training places that will be funded from next year are located in these priority areas.

Hunt announced this summer an extra 1,500 doctors will be trained each year by 2020. Although, health groups warned at the time this might not be enough to meet the short-term shortage of staff.

The flexible working arrangements for GPs considering retirement, announced in the package today, will include the opportunity to take on mentoring and leadership roles, Hunt said.

Other measures include an international recruitment office set up by NHS England to help local areas recruit GPs from abroad and a consultation on the regulation of physician associates to provide further clarity on the scope of the role.

Wendy Reid, director of education and quality at Health Education England, 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.”

HEE spends nearly £500m a year on GP training, she added.

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