Government 'bonding scheme' to offer GPs incentives to work in Wales

The Welsh government is developing financial incentives to encourage GPs and trainees to move to the country and stay there as part of an international recruitment drive.

Wales is making the bid to attract more GPs and trainees to the country in response to a growing GP shortage. The drive forms part of the Welsh government’s vision to move more routine healthcare into the community in the near future, a move it says requires a robust primary care workforce.

The ‘major’ campaign will take a four-pronged approach targeting GPs at different stages of their careers in an attempt to convince them to live and work in Wales.

This includes encouraging medical students to choose general practice as a specialty, targeting trainees coming to the end of training and encouraging them to live in Wales, convincing recently qualified GPs to move to Wales and encouraging GPs considering retirement to stay in the profession.

It will run across Wales, the rest of the UK and internationally. The scheme will aim to attract GPs by using the 'Wales brand', according to Vaughan Gething, secretary for health, wellbeing and sport in Wales.

There is no target set for recruitment, as the country will attempt to 'maximise the number of GPs', he added.

Financial incentives

It will include a ‘potential incentive scheme for a limited number of posts’ for some trainees, known as a 'bonding scheme' that will be dependent on GPs working in the area for an agreed length of time.

It also aired plans to ‘develop solutions to issues such as professional indemnity’ for GPs who move to the country.

The plans are the first phase in a larger drive to attract a wider pool of health professionals into Wales, including nurses, therapists, pharmacists, dentists, optometrists and paramedics.

Mr Gething said: ‘We have developed plans for a major national and international recruitment campaign to market Wales and NHS Wales as an attractive place for doctors, including GPs and their families to train, work and live.’

Speaking later at the Welsh Assembly, he added that he had been ‘working with the Wales Deanery’ to develop the incentive scheme.

‘Part of the point about the taskforce is to have discussions with partners about what incentives could and should look like. So, we are looking in particular at bonding schemes to bring people into areas where there are challenges and, equally, to look at the potential for new GPs and how you can potentially help people with some of the costs of their training, if people agree to undertake a certain period of service here within NHS Wales.

‘So, there’s something there about having something for something, and that is something that we are actively exploring with partners.’

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