NHS England and Health Education England (HEE) are working together with the profession to increase the general practitioner (GP) workforce. This includes measures to boost recruitment into general practice, address the reasons why GPs are leaving the profession, and encourage GPs to return to practice.
HEE has implemented a range of improvements to increase the number of GP training places to 3,250 each year. In 2016 3,019 new starters were recruited to training posts – this is the highest number of GP trainees ever.
In August 2017, NHS England announced plans to accelerate its international recruitment programme, following a series of successful regional pilots. It aims to recruit at least 2,000 GPs from overseas over the next three years.
To improve retention, NHS England has launched the GP Career Plus Scheme, to test a range of ways to offer flexibility and support to experienced GPs at risk of leaving general practice. This is in addition to the new GP Retention Scheme which offers funding to support doctors who can only work a limited number of sessions in general practice.
Finally, 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.