Skip to main content

General Practitioners

Volume 301: debated on Friday 21 November 1997

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what initiatives he (a) is taking and (b) proposes to take, to attract back to general practice general practitioners who are not currently practising as full-time partners. [15821]

The Government are very aware of the problem of recruitment and retention of general practitioners in some parts of the country. We are committed to tackling these problems, which is why we are delighted to introduce a salaried option for GPs who cannot, or do not wish to, become a GP principal. This can happen within general medical services this year, and under the National Health Service (Primary Care) Act 1997 pilots from 1 April next year. Under arrangements beginning this year, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has just announced, together with a kick start of an extra £4 million, it will be possible for a GP to be salaried by a practice and for the health authority to reimburse some or all of the expenses to the practice.We also propose to strengthen the retainer scheme by allowing GPs who wish to take a career break to keep in touch by undertaking up to four sessions per week with appropriate educational input and supervision. Finally, through local development schemes under section 36 of the National Health Service (Primary Care) Act, it will be possible for HAs to devise returner schemes from 1 April 1998. These schemes will be aimed at meeting the needs of individuals who wish to return to general practice after a career break.Taken together, these schemes provide a package which will help to retain GPs and attract them back to the work force.