NHS launches £2,000-per-child support for GPs on induction and refresher scheme

GPs on the NHS 'induction and refresher' scheme can now claim up to £2,000 per child under a support package promised in the 2020/21 GP contract deal.

(Photo: Andrew Brookes/Getty Images)
(Photo: Andrew Brookes/Getty Images)

The package launched today is part of a string of recruitment measures brought in through the GP contract but delayed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

NHS England hopes the childcare support offer - worth up to £2,000 per child aged under 11 years old, with a maximum of £333 per month available per child - will add to the 500 GPs who have previously worked for the NHS or practised overseas brought in through the induction and refresher programme since 2016.

GPs can also claim the funding to meet costs of providing care to a dependent in their place while taking part in the scheme, NHS England has confirmed.

Childcare support for GPs

There is no cap on the number of children under 11 or other dependents that can be claimed for under the scheme - and claims can be backdated to 1 April.

The scheme's launch comes nearly a month after the NHS launched a £20,000 golden hello scheme for first-time GP partners, also promised through the 2020/21 GP contract deal.

The government has promised to increase the GP workforce by 6,000 FTE doctors - but official data revealed earlier this year that the full-time equivalent (FTE) fully-qualified GP workforce fell by 712 in the year to March 2020.

NHS England medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kanani said: 'Family doctors and their teams have played a vital role during the coronavirus pandemic and rapidly adapted how they work to ensure people can still access care in new and more convenient ways, and our ambition remains to recruit thousands more GPs and other clinicians to offer the best care we can for our patients.

GP workforce

'GPs, like those in any other walk of life, might take time out from their career to raise a family which can bring additional challenges, move or work abroad or gain experience in a different profession or role.

'But whatever the reason, there is a direct route for those that wish to return to a career in NHS general practice, at a time when the NHS needs all the expertise it can draw on to help in the ongoing response to coronavirus.'

BMA GP committee workforce policy lead Dr Samira Anane said: 'General practice continues to be in desperate need of doctors, and therefore it makes no sense for childcare and other caring responsibilities to be a barrier for those GPs who want to offer their valuable and much-needed skills to the NHS.

'These may be doctors who have taken time away from practice to have children and we must do all we can to support them when they want to return to the frontline.'

GPs on the induction and refresher scheme can also claim a £3,500 bursary and benefits including a re-location package of up to £18,500, reimbursement of occupational health checks, up to four fully funded attempts at the assessments and access to a support team.

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