Thursday, 12 October 2017 20:39

£20,000 'Golden hello" for rural GPs

Written by  Ruralcity Media
£20,000 'Golden hello" for rural GPs

TRAINEE doctors are to receive £20,000 to work in rural and coastal communities struggling to recruit GPs.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the funding as part of a package of measures to strengthen general practice.

From 2018, surgeries in hard-to-recruit-to areas will benefit from a new government-backed initiative – the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme.

The scheme will offer a one-off payment of £20,000 to attract trainees to work in areas of the country where training places have been unfilled for a number of years.

Many of the 1,500 additional medical training places that will be funded from next year will be located in priority areas, including rural and coastal communities.

Mr Hunt announced the recruitment drive in a speech at the Royal College of General Practitioners Conference in Liverpool on Thursday (12 October).

Other measures include new flexible working arrangements, including the opportunity to take on mentoring and leadership roles, for GPs considering retirement

Mr Hunt said: "Last month, the Care Quality Commission gave a glowing verdict on the state of general practice in England.

"But this should not distract us from the fact that the profession is under considerable pressure at the moment."

Targeting support for vulnerable areas and tackling head on critical issues could strengthen and secure general practice for the future, he added.

"Our talented GP workforce is one of the reasons why we have the best healthcare system in the world," said Mr Hunt.

"Our commitment of an additional £2.4 billion a year for primary care by 2021 will ensure this continues."

Responding to the announcement, Rural Services Network chief executive Graham Biggs said: “This is welcome news.

"Rural patients have long suffered due to a lack of rural GPs.

"In some rural areas, surgeries are in crisis because it is difficult to recruit GPs – with some rural patients having to wait the best part of a month to see a doctor."

The Rural Services Network and our members have long campaigned on this issue, said Mr Biggs.

"It is vital that we encourage more GPs to work in rural areas and this government initiative will go some way to doing that."

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