Supporting mentors scheme guidance for 2023-24

Making primary care a great place to work. Version 3.

Programme summary

What is the scheme?

The Supporting Mentors Scheme is a commitment made in the Update to the GP Contract Agreement 2020/21 - 2023/24.

It is a scheme supported by national funding, delivered by integrated care boards (ICBs), aimed at supporting GPs by enabling them to develop mentoring skills and to work in a different way. The overarching aim is to retain experienced GPs working in primary care through creating this portfolio working opportunity, while supporting less experienced GPs through high quality mentoring. 

The scheme should be delivered to link directly with the General Practice Fellowship programme, the Return to Practice (RtP) programme and the International Induction Programme (IIP), with mentors providing mentorship to GPs participating in these programmes. 

In 2023/24, if the needs of GPs on the above programmes have been met, then ICBs may consider deploying their additional mentoring capacity to other GPs.

Who is it for?

  • GPs who currently deliver – or agree to deliver – a minimum of three clinical sessions (4 hours 10 minutes each) per week and who are looking to conduct an additional weekly session of mentoring​.
  • Experienced GPs who want to contribute to the development of less experienced colleagues​.
  • GPs who have experience in leadership roles, medical education, or are currently a GP partner are particularly encouraged to participate​.

How is it delivered?

By now, each ICB should have a scheme in place​.

The delivery of the scheme involves the recruitment, onboarding and training of mentor GPs, connecting them to mentees, and reimbursing mentors for their mentorship sessions​. 

What do participants receive?​ 

The scheme is comprised of two elements:

  • Funded mentorship training which results in an industry recognised qualification​. 
  • Financial reimbursement of £289 for each session of mentoring activity the trained GP mentors conduct, as well as up to £1,156 to cover up to four sessions of GP time for attending mentoring training.

How do GPs join the scheme?​ 

The onboarding process is led locally by the respective ICB. It is expected that interested GPs will complete an application template and provide supplementary evidence, such as a statement outlining their motivation for becoming mentors.


This programme is nationally funded, with allocations made on a quarterly basis to systems. The first tranche of funding is calculated on a weighted capitation basis, released at end Q1, with subsequent payments calculated based on actual levels of delivery.

Going forward​ 

The scheme is subject to ongoing consideration and review and a decision will be made during the 2023/24 financial year about the future of the scheme​.  

Detailed information to support uptake and delivery

Scheme benefits

Delivery of this scheme enables systems, PCNs and practices to provide experienced GPs with a portfolio working opportunity and funded training which leads to a recognised mentoring qualification, equipping them to become GP mentors.

By recruiting experienced GPs to this scheme, systems and practices are able to access a cohort of locally based and highly experienced doctors who will be trained to use and share their experience to support GPs who are beginning their career in general practice.  These early career GPs will be supported to embed into the local general practice environment and to become an integral part of the local primary care team.

Scheme delivery

ICBs are responsible for having a local scheme in place.  Systems and/or constituent places should work together with local partners in promoting the scheme to experienced GPs in their area, driving uptake.

1. GP mentor recruitment

Systems need to implement and oversee a local application process to onboard GPs interested in joining the scheme as mentors. They will need to ensure GPs applying to the scheme meet all the eligibility criteria outlined in this guidance and that these GPs are of good character and have the potential to be effective mentors. Nationally there is a limit to the number of GPs each system can support, in accordance with their population size and allocated budget. ​

Where an ICB cannot support an application, they should provide feedback to the individual GP outlining the decision with information on how to reapply, where appropriate. ​

Systems should consider accepting GP mentors with a mix of specialist focus areas e.g. leadership, career progression, career planning, which they should use to form a register of mentor profiles. Consideration should also be paid to diversity, seeking a good mix across all of the associated characteristics.

The national cap of 600 mentors has been increased to 905 mentors for 2023/24.  Once the cap has been reached, new mentors should only be trained to replace retiring/leaving mentors. ICBs have been notified of their cap for 2023/24, this can be obtained by emailing

2. Training of GP mentors

Systems should ensure that all GP mentors participating in the scheme have mentorship training.  To qualify for the training, a clear plan should be in place for how and when the individual will deliver mentorship sessions.

Training should be accredited where possible and it is recommended that this is ILM5 in Coaching and Mentoring, or similar. With the agreement of the respective NHS England regional colleague, systems may consider using an equivalent qualification that meets the objectives listed in the bullet points below and offers good value for money. Through investing in upskilling experienced GPs to become mentors, we build mentoring capability to support resilience and strengthen the GP workforce and help doctors, especially those entering primary care, feel more supported and less isolated.​ 

GPs undertaking mentorship training in 2023/24 will be eligible for reimbursement of up to £1,156 (four mentoring sessions) for time attending their training.​ 

Where a GP already holds a mentorship qualification there is no need for them to undertake any additional training to deliver mentorship sessions through this scheme. ​ 

Systems may elect to administer the training function themselves in-house, or invite a local partner to coordinate on their behalf such as the training hub, flexible pool or a federation. ​ 

In consideration of value for money, systems should seek to ensure that mentor GPs are able to remain on the scheme for a minimum period of one year, except for in unforeseen circumstances, for example absence or retirement due to ill health. Systems may consider recovering the cost of training undertaken by GP mentors if they do not remain on the scheme for the minimum period and an exemption is not granted. 

Systems should also ensure that the supply of mentors is aligned with the demand for mentoring so that all trained GP mentors are able to contribute positively after undertaking their training.​ 

Mentor training should be recognised by a professional body and equip mentors to:​ 

  • Assess their own skills, knowledge and behaviours as a mentor​ 
  • Plan, deliver and review their mentoring​ 
  • Understand how to manage the mentoring process within an organisational context​ 
  • Deepen their understanding of how the organisational context can affect mentoring​ 
  • Plan, deliver and review their mentoring, for example through utilising the ‘GROW model’ or similar to help shape objectives of the person they are mentoring​ 
  • Plan their future development in mentoring 

3. Connecting with GP mentees

Systems should establish a mechanism to connect GP mentors on this scheme with GPs who are participating in the GP Fellowship programme, the Return to Practice (RtP) programme and the International Induction Programme (IIP).  There are a number of methodologies which could be used to activate this, including organising ‘speed meeting’ events to introduce GPs and support them in establishing mentorship relationships.  Alternatively, systems may elect to deliver this aspect through technology such as an online platform to support the matching process. An additional benefit is systems can aid mentors and mentees with the administration needs of their mentorship relationship.​ 

While mentoring capacity should be prioritised for the above programmes, systems may consider deploying surplus mentoring capacity to the following GP cohorts:​ 

  • Helping mid-career GPs make career choices including deciding to take on a partnership role​ 
  • Support to new GP partners
  • Support to GPs on the National GP Retention Scheme who are transitioning to a regular GP role outside of the scheme​ 
  • Supporting locums into salaried roles​ 
  • Supporting GPs thinking of returning to the profession ​ 
  • Systems may consider using the Primary Care Flexible Staff Pool as a way of connecting mentors to the final two GP cohorts listed above.​ 

NHS England is interested in hearing about what works well in making such vital and lasting connections. You are encouraged to share your thinking and suggestions with other local leaders implementing these schemes, as well as NHS England, to help define a wider range of standard approaches and to share good practice.  Sharing can be done through FutureNHS (details on final page).  ​ 

4. Reimbursement

ICBs should reimburse GP mentors directly on a monthly basis for their sessions undertaken through this scheme. GP mentors participating in this scheme are entitled to receive £289 for each session of mentoring provided.  ​ 

In exchange, mentors will be expected to support between four to eight mentees and provide direction and an objective view on how their mentee can develop and progress in their clinical environment. The mentee to mentor ratio may be increased while maintain the quality of the mentoring relationships, especially if mentoring sessions are conducted virtually and no travel time is therefore required.  ​ 

Mentors should agree with the local mentorship scheme how they will use the time available to them, and if they are able to carry out mentoring in less than the time allocated, should identify other suitable GP retention activities to participate in. 

  • The reimbursement will cover time mentors spend on meeting preparation and follow up administration, travel time to any face to face mentorship sessions, and the mentoring session itself​ 
  • GP mentors will not be entitled to any other reimbursement outside of this including expenses, such as the cost of travelling​ 
  • The £289 GP mentors receive is inclusive of any on-cost including employer contributions 

5. GP Eligibility

All GPs engaged with the scheme should:​ 

  • Hold full registration and a licence to practise with the General Medical Council (GMC)​ 
  • Meet the requirements for remaining on the NHS England GP Performers List and report to NHS England any concerns that might affect their status on the National Medical Performers List​ 
  • Not be subject to interim suspension under section 41A of the Medical Act 1983​ 
  • Currently be working at least three clinical sessions per week and intending to conduct one additional session of mentoring per week​ 

The scheme should particularly welcome applications from GPs from a wide range of diverse backgrounds, and who have experience in leadership roles, medical education, or are currently a GP partner.​ 

​Experienced GPs who are considering retirement may wish to use their experience to mentor new entrants to the profession, perhaps utilising this as a ‘step-down’ opportunity. 

Indemnity cover for mentoring activities​ 
  • NHS England expects GP mentors participating in the Supporting Mentors Scheme are ‘relevant persons’ for the purposes of the NHS Litigation Authority Liability for Third Parties Scheme (LTPS) and as such are expected to be covered by this scheme in terms of liability for their actions while acting in the role of mentor​ 
  • GP mentors who are licensed medical practitioners should note that this cover does not extend to representing them in the case of a challenge to their licence or registration​ 
  • GP mentors may therefore want to speak with their medical defence organisation and consider whether they also need to maintain appropriate professional insurance for protection of their medical licence/cover for legal fees

Funding for 2023/24

The Primary Care System Development Funding guidance confirms £8.4m is available nationally for the scheme in 2023/24.  ICBs will receive an initial fair shares allocation upfront during Q1, which will be adjusted in later quarterly allocations to reflect actual and planned spend and delivery.  Each ICB was required to submit a system delivery plan in early 2023-24 outlining their planned numbers of mentors and mentoring sessions. ICBs will need to ensure accurate updates to the Primary Care Monitoring Survey and input to the financial ledger to ensure accurate allocations are made to ICBs in the remaining quarters of the year.

Scheme funding is allocated to ICBs and is defined as:

  1. Funding to train an agreed number of GPs with a recognised mentorship qualification. Procurement of mentor training plus networking and CPD of mentor GPs. Nationally, we have calculated the ‘unit cost’/per head for mentorship training and ongoing peer networking and CPD activities to be £2,500 per GP mentor per year. To ensure value for money, systems are encouraged to explore expanding existing training opportunities that are hosted by local authorities and/or local NHS Leadership Academies.​
  2. Reimbursement of up to £1,156 (4 sessions) for each new mentor to attend training.
  3. Quarterly reimbursement of the mentoring supplement. The ICB should pay the qualifying GP mentors their £289 per session of mentoring on a monthly basis. 

Programme evaluation

NHS England will require management information on all primary care workforce schemes to understand impact and return on investment, and to inform the ongoing review of the support offer to the workforce.​ ICBs and their delivery partners should continue to report their quantitative data primarily via the Primary Care Monitoring Survey and financial ledger. 

ICBs should be monitoring the uptake of schemes, including collection of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion data to ensure any inequalities are being identified and addressed. 

ICBs are encouraged to regularly evaluate the scheme and share the learning with NHS England. 

Where to go for support

GP Workforce Scheme Delivery Hub: GP Workforce Scheme Delivery Hub – FutureNHS Collaboration Platform

This website offers further delivery resources for ICBs, including workforce modelling tools and retention guidance and support.  There is also a community of others leading the programme locally, so you can use the forum to ask questions and learn from other areas.  If you haven’t used it before, you will need to set up a username and password which should only take a few minutes.

GP Career Support Hub: GP Career Support Hub – FutureNHS Collaboration Platform

This is a one stop shop online space dedicated to providing GPs with information and signposting about a wide range of support available to help them to realise a rewarding and fulfilling career. Please encourage your GPs to access the information hosted here.

NHS England GP Workforce Policy Team:

Any queries for the NHS GP Workforce Team that developed this guidance can be directed to

Publication reference: PRN00838