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NHS England Local GP Retention Fund

NHS England has announced £10 million of additional funding in 2018/19 to support retention of the GP workforce.

As well as making significant investment to attract new GPs to practices, including HEE’s increase in specialist training numbers and the large scale international recruitment programme, NHSE are now going to increase investment in a programme to focus specifically on retaining the GPs who are already working hard to provide great care for patients and communities.

Following a variety of schemes and pilots such as GP Career Plus and the GP Retention Scheme, NHSE are investing the additional £10 million in 2018/19 to:

  • facilitate the establishment of local schemes and initiatives that enable local GPs to stay in the workforce, through promoting new ways of working and offering additional support – through the new Local GP Retention Fund (£7 million).
  • establish seven intensive support sites across the country in areas that have struggled most to retain GPs, linked to implementation of the Releasing Time for Care programme and wider work being taken forward under the General Practice Forward View (GPFV). Sites will be announced by the end of June 2018 (£3 million).

Background Note

Research shows that a complex combination of factors can lead to poor job satisfaction within general practice including workload, remuneration (and the impact of pension changes), perceived lack of recognition, increasing bureaucracy, indemnity costs and lack of peer support. This is leading to increases in the rate at which general practitioners are choosing to leave the workforce, or work on a more part-time basis. While rates will vary significantly across the country, the current average rate of loss from the GP workforce is now estimated to be between 5 and 8% nationally.

The additional £10 million investment in 2018/19 will further support delivery of the commitment set out in the General Practice Forward View (GPFV) to ensure an additional 5,000 extra doctors working in general practice by 2020. It will particularly focus on supporting general practitioners who are at risk of leaving general practice, or who have already left. Provisional workforce statistics published by NHS Digital on 15 May indicate that as at end of March 2018, there were 1,018 fewer doctors (Full time equivalents) working in general practice than in September 2015. This presents the net position of those who have joined and left general practice during the period.

Full guidance is available on the NHS England website.

Worsley and Cook (2015) Looking to the future: the recruitment, retention and return of GPs. Ipsos MORI. Available here.

Peckham, Marchand and Peckham (2016) General practitioner recruitment and retention: An evidence synthesis. PRUComm. Available here.

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