Public Health

30.05.18

NHS England announces £10m cash boost to keep GPs

NHS England will introduce a new £10m fund in an effort to prevent GPs from leaving the profession.

The fund, announced today part of an NHS England initiative to attract GPs to practices and recruit 2000 GPs into the workforce by 2020, will dedicate around £7m to regional-based schemes by promoting new ways of working and offering additional support through a new Local GP Retention Fund.

The remaining £3m will be establish seven intensive support sites around the UK in areas failing to support and retain GPs. It will back local health services focusing on supporting newly qualified GPs or those within their first five years of practice—but are seriously considering leaving general practice or are no longer clinically practicing in the NHS in England but remain on the Medical National Performers List.

In February NHS Digital figures found that the number of family doctors fell to 33,872 in December from 34,091 in September. Research from the University of Exeter found that GPs felt undervalued and concerned about professional risk in delivering care in an increasingly complex health environment.

Yet this scheme aims to eradicate some of these concerns, as part of a series of initiatives aimed at improving GP’s quality of work life such as the GP Retention Scheme launched in 2017, and the GP Health Service, introduced last year with the aim of giving free and confidential mental health service to GPs experiencing mental health and addiction issues.

Chair of the Royal College of GPs Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “Today’s measures are really welcome, and we appreciate the focus on supporting local initiatives and areas that are finding it particularly difficult to retain GPs in the profession.

“We want to see more options and greater flexibility for experienced GPs, particularly those who might be considering leaving the profession, so that our patients can continue to benefit from their expert skills – and newer GPs can continue to learn from them.”

Dr Raj Patel, deputy director of primary care for NHS England, said they are “aware of the pressures and the need to support valued doctors”, and added that the local GP retention fund will address this as part of measures put in place to meet much-needed demand from practitioners around the country.

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