Fresh push to bring back GPs

A NEW campaign designed to persuade hundreds of doctors to return to general practice is being launched this week.

It will highlight government pledges to invest billions in extra funding and recruit 22,000 health professionals to support GPs and ease workloads.

NHS England and Health Education England hope the campaign will encourage more doctors to take part in the Induction and Refresher scheme (I&R) which has so far attracted almost 800 applicants since its launch in March 2015. Of these, 279 have fully completed the programme and rejoined the GP workforce in England.

The scheme targets doctors who have taken a break from general practice, whether to retire, raise a family or work abroad or in a different profession. It promises to provide “a safe, supported and direct route for qualified GPs to join or return to NHS general practice in England”, offering financial and practical support.

Among the GPs who have taken advantage of the scheme are Reverend Dr Anne Kazich, 49, who now works as both a part-time GP in Skellmersdale as well as a part-time community minister for the Anglican church.

Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England’s acting medical director for primary care and a south-east London GP, said: “We’re delighted to see how many GPs have returned via the scheme, with more than 50 per cent of the recruitment target already achieved.

“General Practice is the bedrock of the health service and is a priority as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. We understand the pressures GPs are under, and have invested an extra £978million in core general practice funding by 2023-24 as part of the GP Contract, together with a pledge to recruit more than 20,000 healthcare workers to support family doctors over the next five years.”

She said the campaign was one of several plans NHS England had in place to boost GP numbers including increasing trainee numbers.

Find out more at: www.gpreturner.nhs.uk