RCGP hails encouraging interest in scheme to attract GPs back to UK

A scheme designed to help GPs working abroad to return to general practice in England has had 'higher than expected' interest in the month it was launched.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker
RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker

Two GPs have already entered the portfolio route of NHS England’s induction and refresher scheme, which allows GPs returning from abroad to use their experience gained overseas to determine the level at which they enter the scheme.

The portfolio route, announced in the GP Forward View, was only introduced at the beginning of this month, and the RCGP, which is running the portfolio route, described the level of interest as ‘encouraging’.

GPs who complete the induction and refresher scheme will be eligible for incentive payments of up to £10,000 if they take up posts in underdoctored areas under the Targeted Investment in Recruiting Returning Doctors pilot. The GP Forward View pledged to attract back or retain at least 500 GPs in UK general practice.

The portfolio route of the induction and refresher scheme is designed for doctors who have previously worked as a GP in the UK and have had a break of up to five years from the NHS while working as a GP overseas.

GP workforce

GPs can put together a portfolio of documents to demonstrate that they have maintained their GP skills while working abroad, and show that they have kept up to date with changes in NHS practice.

Applicants must first be interviewed by a Health Education England induction and refresher lead who can approve their eligibility for the portfolio route.

The RCGP will then advise the applicant and evaluate their documents before making a recommendation to NHS England on whether the GP can enter the induction and refresher scheme this way. NHS England will make the final decision.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘The scheme is primarily aimed at GPs who are planning to practise abroad but intend to return to general practice in England within five years so that they can collect the necessary evidence whilst they are away, so that two GPs are already on the scheme just a month after it has launched is encouraging.’

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