The Government has committed to an extra 5,000 doctors in general practice by 2020, as part of a wider increase to the total workforce in general practice of 10,000.
NHS England and Health Education England are working together with the profession to increase the general practitioner (GP) workforce. This includes measures to boost recruitment into general practice, encourage GPs to return to practice, and address the reasons why experienced GPs are considering leaving the profession.
Health Education England has implemented a range of improvements to increase the flexibility of the GP recruitment processes and enable maximum recruitment into GP speciality training. Health Education England reports that 3,019 new starters were recruited to GP training posts in 2016. This represents the highest number of GP trainees the National Health Service has ever recruited in to specialty training in general practice.
In October 2016, NHS England announced a package of improvements to the GP Induction and Refresher Scheme to make it easier and quicker for qualified doctors to return to general practice, this is supplemented by a campaign to encourage doctors to return. Over 200 are currently registered on the induction and refresher scheme. NHS England is also starting to approve local schemes to bring in suitably qualified and experienced doctors from overseas.
To support the retention of doctors NHS England has announced the launch of the GP Career Plus Scheme in 2017 to test a range of ways to offer flexibility and support for experienced GPs at risk of leaving general practice, this is in addition to the retained doctors scheme which offers funding to support doctors who can only work a limited number of sessions in general practice.