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Staggering GP Statistics

With the supply and demand for GPs nationally at critical levels, it may be worth considering employing a GP on the national retention scheme to act as a sustainable solution for your practice.

Workforce data shows that the number of GPs leaving in most age groups, particularly those aged 55–59 and 60-64, has risen dramatically over the last 10 years. Data also shows peaks in GPs leaving practice aged in their 30s and aged 55-59. This scheme is aimed at anyone intending to leave general practice at any time in their career and when a regular part-time role does not meet the doctor’s need for flexibility and where there is a need for additional educational supervision.

The National GP Retention Scheme is a package of financial and educational support to help eligible doctors, who might otherwise leave the profession, remain in clinical general practice. The scheme supports both the retained GP (RGP) and the practice employing them by offering financial support in recognition of the fact that this role is different from a ‘regular’ part-time, salaried GP post, offering greater flexibility and educational support.

RGPs may be on the scheme for a maximum of five years with an annual review each year to ensure that the RGP remains in need of the scheme and that the practice is meeting its obligations. This scheme enables a doctor to remain in clinical practice for a maximum of four clinical sessions (16 hours 40 minutes) per week – 208 sessions per year, which includes protected time for continuing professional development and with educational support.

How will the GP practice benefit?

Each practice employing an RGP will be able to claim an allowance relating to the number of sessions for which their retained doctor is engaged. The practice will qualify for a payment of £76.92 per clinical session (up to a maximum of four clinical sessions per week) that the doctor is employed for. This allowance will be paid for all sessions including sick leave, annual leave, educational, maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave where the RGP is being paid by the practice.

The practice and RGP will continue to receive payments under the terms of the scheme as long as the RGP remains contracted to the practice and the practice continues to pay the RGP. The practice will also benefit by taking on a GP, who despite circumstances that require flexibility and support for that RGP, can provide additional skills and expertise with a commitment to continuity of patient care.

A practice may employ more than one RGP where there is a capacity for support and long-term career opportunities.

Eligibility for GPs:

The scheme is open to doctors who meet ALL of the following criteria: 

  • Where a doctor is seriously considering leaving or has left general practice (but is still on the National Medical Performers List) due to: Personal reasons – such as caring responsibilities for family members (children or adults)
  • Personal health reasons
  • Approaching retirement
  • Require greater flexibility to undertake other work either within or outside of general practice. And when a regular part-time role does not meet the doctor’s need for flexibility, for example, the requirement for short clinics or annualised hours. And where there is a need for additional educational supervision. For example, a newly qualified doctor needing to work 1-4 sessions a week due to caring responsibilities or those working only 1-2 sessions where pro-rata study leave allowance is inadequate to maintain continuing professional development and professional networks.

Possible applicants 

  • Locums
  • Salaried GPs
  • GP Partners
  • Doctors within general practice on a career break of fewer than 24 months who remain on the National Performers List (or are expected to have been re-admitted by the time they start as an RGP) and are registered with a license to practice with the GMC.

A doctor that has previously been on the Retained Doctors Scheme but is not currently on the Scheme and is otherwise eligible, may apply to re-join the scheme.

Eligibility criteria for GP practices

The GP practice should offer the RGP work which enables them to maintain skills across the full spectrum of a general practitioner. The RGP should be embedded in one GP practice to enable peer support at work and continuity with patients.

Practices must be able to demonstrate they can meet the educational needs of the RGP as appropriate and that they understand the ethos of educational supervision. The designated HEE RGP Scheme Lead will assess this based on the needs of the doctor who is applying.

The practice should provide a named educational supervisor who is either a GP trainer, F2 supervisor, or has recently accessed a suitable training course in supervision. The precise specification is for local determination by the designated HEE RGP Scheme Lead.

Practices may employ more than one RGP where there is a capacity for support and long-term career opportunities with the prior approval of the designated HEE RGP Scheme Lead.

Funding 

Professional expenses supplement Each RGP would qualify for an annual professional expenses supplement of between £1000 and £4000 which is based on the number of sessions worked per week. It is payable to the RGP via the practice. The expenses supplement is subject to deductions for tax and national insurance contributions but is not superannuable (pensionable) by the practice.

The whole of the expenses supplement payment will be passed on by the practice to the doctor to go towards the cost of indemnity cover, professional expenses, and CPD needs. The practice should not automatically make any other deductions from the RGP expenses supplement except for tax and national insurance contributions. Certain expenses may be claimed against tax by the RGP (e.g. subscriptions to medical defence organisations and membership of the BMA and GMC annual retention fee etc).

The RGP will be offered an expenses supplement payment (paid via their practice), as follows:

Number of sessions per week Annualised sessions. The RGP professional expenses supplement will be paid at the commencement of employment and then each year on the anniversary following a successful annual review.

Support for practices Each practice employing an RGP will be able to claim an allowance relating to the number of sessions for which their retained doctor is engaged. The practice will qualify for a payment of £76.92 per clinical session (up to a maximum of four) that the doctor is employed for. This allowance will be paid for all sessions including sick leave, annual leave, educational, maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave where the RGP is being paid by the practice.

Contracted sessions per week Maximum financial support to practice per year (based on £76.92 per session)

1 session = £3,999.84

2 sessions = £7,999.68

3 sessions = £11,999.52

4 sessions = £15,999.36

We are currently working with a number of GPs interested in the scheme, If you are open to supporting a Retained GP get in touch.

Alternatively, if your practice needs help with recruitment, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us on 0113 3501308. Click here, to complete our contact form.

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