Exclusive: Federation builds scheme to recruit and retain inner-city GPs

A GP federation in Newham, London has developed an innovative workforce development scheme to recruit and retain GPs in inner-city general practice.

Karen Stubbs: Newham scheme aims to attract young GPs to inner-city roles
Karen Stubbs: Newham scheme aims to attract young GPs to inner-city roles

The scheme is designed to encourage young GPs into the area and simultaneously provide support to existing GPs.

First4Health federation project director Karen Stubbs told GP magazine: 'We are very focused on the workforce.

‘We are trying to inspire newly qualified young GPs to work in a new, different model of primary care, and innovating to support GPs who individually may find it difficult  to implement some of the current challenges around access and performance targets in the face of workforce pressures and vacancies.

'We are an inner city borough and find it hard to recruit staff - we have GPs with vacancies and the burden is high on existing practices, so we are trying to innovate and think differently about how we use the workforce. Being a bigger organisation allows us to do that.’

Ms Stubbs spoke to GP ahead of a conference she is running with support from the RCGP: ‘Federations – the Final Frontier’. The conference takes place on 3 September at the RCGP headquarters in Euston Square, and will be chaired by RCGP chair-elect Professor Maureen Baker.

Ms Stubbs said: 'We are trying to create attractive, long-term salaried posts that give people a chance to settle into general practice but also offer variety, an opportunity to work across different sites serving different patient groups.

‘GPs gain experience across a range of practice teams which helps them to consider future options and experience different organisational cultures.’

First4Health is trying to create posts that offer training for specialist roles and opportunities to become GP trainers, with education and research work built into the roles.

Ms Stubbs added that Newham was a borough with a high proportion of GPs nearing retirement.

Recruits to the new roles created by the federation would enable it to offer support to long-serving existing practices and help to retain older, experienced GPs.

The federation is also planning to offer health checks for GPs, to help 'long-serving GPs look after themselves'. 'We are trying to create a better work-life balance,' Ms Stubbs said.

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