NHS England, Health Education England (HEE), the British Medical Association (BMA) and Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have been working together to support recruitment in areas to which it has traditionally been hard to recruit.
NHS England is funding a £20,000 salary supplement to attract GP trainees to work in areas of the country where GP training places have been unfilled for a number of years.
The scheme was launched as a one-year pilot in 2016 and has now been extended for a further year in 2017. The scheme is open to GP trainees committed to working for three years in areas identified by the GP National Recruitment Office (GPNRO) as having the hardest to recruit to training places in England.
The scheme was initially for 122 places in 2016 and has been extended to cover 144 training places in 2017.
Why is the salary supplement scheme needed?
Although overall recruitment of GPs is increasing, in some parts of England a significant proportion of GP training places remain unfilled. The scheme tests whether additional financial incentives attract trainees to areas of the country with historically low fill rates.
If successful, it will relieve pressure on some of the GP practices in England currently facing the most severe recruitment challenges, thereby improving patient access in these areas over time.
Where are the hard to recruit training places?
Health Education England has identified a number of training places with the lowest fill rates between 2013 and 2016. The locations are:
- HEE East Midlands – Lincolnshire, Sherwood Forest
- HEE East of England – Kings Lynn, Great Yarmouth
- HEE North East – North Cumbria
- HEE North West – Blackpool, South Cumbria
- HEE South West – North Devon, Somerset
- HEE Wessex – Isle of Wight
- HEE West Midlands – Hereford
- HEE Yorkshire and the Humber – Doncaster, Hull, Northern Lincolnshire & Goole, Scarborough
How were the training places identified for the scheme?
GP training directors identified those areas which had the lowest fill rates consistently over the last four years. To be fair to applicants all posts advertised within the specific area have been included in the scheme. This led to the twelve most hard to fill areas being identified which, on average, had a 50 per cent or less fill rate for the last three years.
How do trainees apply for the scheme?
Those interested in the scheme should review their preferences within their GP application within Oriel prioritising a ‘hard to recruit to’ training place and resubmit their preferred training locations by Friday 17 February 2017. In the event that any of the hard to recruit training places is oversubscribed, standard recruitment and selection processes for training places will be applied. For further detail, please visit the GPNRO website.
What happens if a GP trainee on the scheme leaves early?
GP trainees will need to sign an agreement to complete the three year placement, with no relocation option, prior to receiving the salary supplement. Should a trainee need to leave their training place before completing the three year placement, they would need to make a pro-rata repayment of the salary supplement.
Is the payment subject to tax?
The HMRC have advised that these payments will be subject to tax. Therefore, tax will be taken at source via the trainee’s employer payroll. Trainees are encouraged to seek financial advice and speak to their local tax office if they believe they are exempt from this tax.
How will the scheme be evaluated?
The impact of the scheme will be evaluated over the summer of 2017 to determine its impact and effectiveness. The findings of this evaluation will feed into future planning on GP recruitment.