Dr Chris Mimnagh: Will £20k 'golden hellos' solve the GP recruitment crisis?

Do GP trainees really want a £20k bonus or do they place more value on being in the 'right' place? Dr Chris Mimnagh wonders if financial incentives are the right way to go.

The announcement that GP registrars will get up to £20k if they go to work in under-doctored areas is being heralded as a good thing.

I’m sceptical. There’s a reason areas are under-doctored, usually because it’s hard work in a rough area with little prospect of a good quality of life for GP and patient alike.

So, would you take the bonus and go there?

Or would you prefer to work in a practice with good teamwork, a great vision of the future, success in recruiting other GPs, a great skill mix of staff, mobile (dare I say agile) working practices, family-friendly policies and not have the bonus?

Is being in the 'right' place better than being in the more financially beneficial place?

Don’t forget the next crop of registrars were usually born in the late 1980s early 1990s and achieved autonomy as millennials.

For them the world has a different flavour. They are digital natives, people who prioritise life-work balance over work-life balance, people who are more likely to work part time, have several careers and will  probably be values driven not value-for-money driven.

So if I’m dissing the money, what is the answer?

I think it’s about creating that environment that attracts, that supports, that nurtures.

Trouble is you can’t start that from a position of failure.

To rebuild general practice we will need to start again, regroup, defect free. 

Practices, councils, communities need to collaborate, recognising the finite resource and the value placed on it.

  • Dr Chris Mimnagh is a GP in Liverpool and head of clinical innovation liaison and deployment at The Innovation Agency, the academic health science network for the north-west coast.

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