General Practitioners: Labour Turnover

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to improve the retention level of GPs within the NHS.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

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, address the reasons why GPs are leaving the profession, and encourage GPs to return to practice.

There is a broad offer available to support GPs to remain in the National Health Service including the GP Health Service, the GP Retention Scheme, and the GP Retention Fund.

In May 2018, NHS England launched the £10 million GP Retention Fund, comprising of the Local Retention Fund (£7 million) and the Intensive Support Areas (£3 million) which will help GPs stay in the workforce by promoting new ways of working and offering additional support.

Recognising that workload is one of the biggest issues impacting retention, NHS England is investing £30 million in the Releasing Time for Care Programme, which aims to help practices reduce their workload through spreading awareness of innovations and facilitating local programmes.

Getting the skills mix right in general practice is also critical in addressing workload pressures as well as in delivering appropriate patient care. This will mean bigger teams of staff, providing a wider range of care options for patients and freeing up more time for GPs to focus on those with more complex needs. As of September 2018, there were over 3,700 more clinical staff, excluding GPs, working in general practice since 2015; consisting of over 600 more nurses and over 3,000 more other direct patient care.

In addition to this work, the General Practice Partnership Review, an independent review into the partnership model to which practices work, will deliver its final report early this year. The independent review will consider key questions around workforce and workload and make a number of recommendations with the aim of ensuring general practice remains an excellent place to work.

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