Hundreds of GPs are ‘returning to the frontline’ as a result of an NHS England programme making it easier to come back to general practice after a career break.

The Induction and Refresher Scheme was  launched in 2015 as part of NHS England’s 10-point plan to boost the GP workforce and has picked up after a slow start and now has 400 GPs coming through, according to a senior NHS England official. It underwent an overhaul the following year after Pulse Today revealed that just one GP out of 108 obtained the score required to return direct to practice without further assessment

But will the NHS deliver 5,000 extra  GPs by 2020?

Speaking at the Best Practice conference in Birmingham, NHS England Dr Arvind Madan, Primary Care Director of NHS England gave an indication that two and a half years in, its returns have improved significantly.

He said the targets for numbers on the Induction and Refresher Scheme were about 100 in year one and was currently at around 400 and starting to see the equivalent of those starting to ‘return to the frontline’. 

The scheme forms part of a range of measures rolled out by NHS England in a bid to deliver the Government’s pledge, made ahead of the 2015 election, for England to have 5,000 more GPs by 2020.

This comes as general practice is suffering a Government-acknowledged workforce crisis, which Dr Madan said was partly down to the profession becoming less attractive to doctors.

But he suggested the £2.4bn General Practice Forward View Rescue Programme, launched last year, was attempting to change that perception.

He told delegates: ‘I think probably one could argue that all of the elements of the GP Forward View are an attempt to try and make general practice attractive again, which is one of the root causes of why we are in this situation.’

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary admitted that the profession is under considerable pressure at the moment and that in order to improve the situation he announced and extension of the £20,000 ‘Golden Handshake’ scheme to train a further 200 GP trainees.

If you want to learn more about the Induction and Returners Scheme please go to:

This article appears in Pulse today magazine.