£20,000 'golden hello' scheme for GP practice partners widened

A scheme offering £20,000 golden hellos to first-time partners in GP practices in England has been expanded from the start of March.

From 1 March 2021, physician associates became the 12th staff group eligible for the 'New to partnership payment' scheme - in addition to GPs, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physiotherapists, paramedics, midwives, dietitians, podiatrists, occupational therapists and mental health practitioners.

Staff in any of these groups taking on a partnership in a GP practice in England on or after 1 April 2020 can apply for a golden hello worth up to £20,000, plus a training allowance worth up to £3,000.

Applications were delayed by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, but opened from 1 July 2020, with the scheme set to run until 2022.

GP partnership

The incentive scheme to attract GPs and other healthcare staff into practice partnerships comes as numbers of GPs in partnership roles in England remain in sharp decline. In the year to December 2020 the number of full-time equivalent GP partners fell to 17,173 - down around 900 from the previous December.

NHS England has yet to reveal how many people have benefited from the scheme to date - but revealed last year that it had been forced to overhaul eligibility requirements amid concerns that some GPs who had applied found they were unable to produce evidence required to support applications.

NHS England also confirmed last year that it hoped to extend the partnership scheme to practice managers at some stage.

Applicants for the golden hello scheme must agree to remain in a partnership role for five years - with part of the funding to be repaid if they leave within that period. The full £20,000 golden hello is available for those working in full-time roles, with the amount reduced on a pro-rata basis for people working less than full time.

To be eligible for the scheme, an applicant must be 'an equity share partner' - holding a share in the profits and liabilities of the partnership, with a share not less than 10%.

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