Doctors recruitment and retention overhauled

A
package of measures to boost recruitment and retention of doctors, consultants
and GPs in the NHS has been announced.

The
move will see an increase in ‘golden hello’ payments for GPs of up to £12,000.

‘Golden
hello’ payments were first introduced in April 2001 and since then more than
1,700 payments have been made. It has now been extended to GPs who return to
practice and the maximum payment increased to £12,000 in the areas where
doctors are needed most.

A
national ‘Returners’ campaign to offer advice, training and support to GPs,
consultants and doctors in the training grades who are not currently working in
the NHS has also been launched. Returning doctors will have a clear route back
into the NHS with salaried refresher training and the option of working full or
part time.

To
support the campaign, the Flexible Careers Scheme – started in November 2001
for hospital doctors and doctors in training – has been extended to those who
wish to work part time.

GPs
will be able to organise their hours on an annualised basis, working different
hours at particular times of the year, for example working more hours during
term time and fewer during school holidays.

Health
Minister John Hutton said: "These new initiatives are just some of the
ways we are trying to respond to the needs of the future medical workforce –
making medical careers attractive to the next generation of clinicians and
leaders.

"If
we can succeed in recruiting and retaining more doctors then the NHS will be
able to become the service we all want it to be. A service that provides faster
more convenient care of the highest possible quality. Better able to meet the
needs of today’s society."

By Quentin Reade

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