General Practitioners: Rural Areas:Written question - 134982

Asked by Bill Wiggin
(North Herefordshire)
Asked on: 29 March 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
General Practitioners: Rural Areas
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on recruiting additional GPs in rural locations.
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 17 April 2018

The Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme funds a £20,000 salary supplement to attract general practitioner (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 was extended for a further year in 2017 and again in 2018. The scheme is open to GP trainees committed to working for three years in areas identified by the GP National Recruitment Office as having the hardest to recruit to training places in England. At the end of January 2018, 238 GP trainee vacancies were filled, of which, 105 trainees entered the scheme in its first year in 2016, and a further 133 entered the scheme in 2017. The fill rate increased from 86% in 2016 to 92% in 2017. 250 places are being made available in 2018.

In addition, NHS England are working with partners such as Health Education England, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of GPs, and the General Medical Council, on International GP Recruitment. The programme was extended in August 2017, and will now aim to recruit at least 2,000 GPs into England from overseas by 2020. Recruitment is now underway in a number of areas across England, including in rural communities.

NHS England has also provided funding to increase the number of GP training places in England each year to 3,250 and invested additional resources to attract former GPs back to practice. Both of these initiatives will support rural communities by building the overall GP workforce.

At the same time, NHS England is supporting rural practices by building the wider general practice workforce, including significant investment in other patient facing roles such as clinical pharmacists and practice nurses.

NHS England’s expectation is that these programmes, in conjunction with the range of other initiatives being delivered as part of the General Practice Forward View, will help alleviate some of the pressures that general practices currently face.

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