Under the 10 Point Plan, the initial improvements, launched on the 1 April 2015, gave GPs who have previously been on the GMC Register and on the NHS England National Performers List (NPL) the opportunity to return to General Practice after a career break, raising a family or time spent working abroad. It also supported the safe introduction of overseas GPs who have qualified outside the UK and have no previous NHS experience. Those on the scheme receive a bursary of £2,300 per month and participants will be given a supervised placement in general practice. A Portfolio route was also introduced, allowing GPs to show that they have maintained their GP skills while working as a general practitioner overseas and how they have kept up to date with changes in NHS practice
Further improvements are in three key areas.
Firstly increased financial support from November 2016 that will:
- Increase the monthly bursary for GPs on the I&R scheme to £3,500. This will be available to new or existing GPs on the scheme.
- Provide a time limited financial top up to the bursary of £1,250 to assist with the costs of indemnity whilst on the scheme (available until 31 October 2018).
- Provide a time limited reimbursement (worth £464) to GPs on the scheme for the costs of GMC membership and DBS fees (available until 31 October 2018).
- Remove assessment fees for first time applicants (worth up to £1,000).
Increased practical support means from September 2016, a new national support team for the scheme, based in Liverpool. The team will provide each I&R GP with a dedicated account manager and contact point to support them through the entire process. The team will also provide support including:
- Assistance and advice with completing forms and paperwork
- Assistance with arranging occupational health assessments
- Advice on arranging indemnity
- Co-ordinating assessments and placements on behalf of GPs
Finally, to make it easier for GPs to return to practice and cutting down the time involved, the process will be made more flexible. NHS England will continue to will work with stakeholders and local teams on four key areas:
- National guidance on approving GPs for the Medical Performers List. Existing criteria will be revised if required, in consultation with key stakeholders.
- Required steps in the local assessment, including interviews and references.
- Regional and/or national oversight of decisions.
- National funding for an on-going support and mentorship of GPs recommended for immediate inclusion on the Medical Performers List.
For those doctors still needing to complete the I&R process, and scoring the highest bands on the I&R assessments, we will work with Health Education England to reduce the length of placements and the need for these doctors to sit the simulated surgery.
NHS England will also provide additional funding by April 2017 to increase the frequency of assessments under the I&R scheme from quarterly to bi-monthly. This will mean that GPs on the scheme have less time to wait until they can sit next the next round of assessments.