GP retainer rate increased 30% to keep doctors working for longer

NHS England has bumped up financial incentives for GPs working on the retained doctor scheme by a third in a bid to convince more GPs to stay in the profession for longer.

GPs on the retained doctors scheme will be paid £76.92 per session per week from this month – up 30% from the previous rate of £59.18.

The amount paid towards professional expenses will also rise from an annual cap of £310 to £1,000 per session per week worked, to a maximum of £4,000.

GP leaders welcomed the scheme, which they said would help GPs who would otherwise have left the profession work as GPs for longer, particularly in part-time roles.

The retained doctor scheme is a package of support which includes financial incentives and development support to help GPs who might otherwise leave the profession remain in general practice, working reduced hours.

GP retainer scheme

Retained GPs (RGPs) work between one and four sessions per week and may be on the scheme for up to five years, subject to annual reviews to ensure they remain eligible. Eligibility depends on GPs being able to provide 'compelling evidence' that without support from the retainer scheme they would quit the profession.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP workforce lead said: ‘This new enhanced retainer scheme, negotiated by the BMA, will provide significant more resources to both GP practices and individual GPs to allow highly skilled professionals to remain in the workforce particularly in part time roles.

‘Everyone involved in general practice will know that GP services are under incredible pressure, one of those being from chronic staffing shortages that are undermining the delivery of patient care throughout the country.


‘We cannot allow capable GPs who need to change their working patterns, often women and men who have taken a break to start a family, to be prevented from playing a part in helping to rescue general practice from its current predicament.’

Dr Zoe Norris, BMA GP Sessional committee chair, said: ‘Patients can see they are waiting longer and longer to see their GP because there simply aren't enough staff in the NHS.

‘In the past, if you were a doctor who took time out to have a family, or care for a relative and wanted to then come back to work, there was no support. So these doctors left and this patient care suffered. The NHS lost highly skilled GPs in a time of dire need.

‘This new scheme means that GP practices who can offer support to GPs we would otherwise lose, get the resources they need. More doctors can see more patients and this has to be an improvement.’

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