Returners who sign up for induction and refresher schemes in England, Wales and Norhtern Ireland, or the GP returner scheme in Scotland, will be offered a one-year membership worth up to £519.
Two groups of doctors will benefit from the offer - those who qualified in the UK via the MRCGP or were former RCGP members and are returning after time abroad or career breaks; doctors who are UK qualified but have not been RCGP members or taken the MRCGP exam; and EU doctors or those with a certificate of eligibility for GP registration.
Former RCGP members or MRCGP-qualified GPs will receive full membership, and others will receive associate membership.
RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: 'Encouraging more GPs to come back to general practice in the UK is a priority for the college, and has been for me personally since I became chair in 2013. It makes absolutely no sense to put barriers in the way of trained GPs who want to work, delivering frontline patient care in our NHS, whilst we have an intense shortage of family doctors.
'As part of our work with NHS England, Health Education England and the BMA to ‘recruit retain and return’ the thousands more GPs needed to deliver the safe care our patients deserve, the I&R scheme has been streamlined and the bureaucracy and red tape involved has been significantly reduced. We have been carrying out similar work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
'There is still more to do but the updated schemes are vastly improved, and we hope that offering a year’s free College membership – with access to our many professional and developmental benefits – will be an added incentive to anyone thinking about returning to the profession.'