Improving GP recruitment and retention

Scottish Government to fund projects across Scotland

A number of innovative projects to improve GP recruitment and retention will be funded by the Scottish Government over the next two years.

Over £2 million of funding has been allocated to projects across the country, as part of the Government’s £85 million Primary Care Fund.

Initiatives include the development of a locum pool of retired GPs in Lothian, a GP recruitment programme run by the Royal College of General Practitioners and a Scottish Rural Medicine Collaborative in seven health boards to bring together recruitment strategies and support networks for GPs working in remote and rural areas.

Health Secretary Shona Robison announced the allocation of funds and said the Scottish Government was committed to working with health boards and professional bodies to improve GP recruitment and retention in Scotland.

Ms Robison said: “This investment will help to get these innovative and exciting projects off the ground – allowing frontline staff to test new ways of working and new models of care that can be rolled out nationally if they are a success.

“It demonstrates our commitment to supporting and developing local GP and primary care services, and working with our partners to do so. We have also pledged to increase the number of GPs working in our NHS.

“As the Primary Care Workforce Survey published today shows, there still remain challenges in recruiting and retaining doctors to work in general practice. While Scotland continues to have the highest number of GPs per patient in the UK, we still need to act now to redesign the way care is provided in the community to ensure these services are sustainable in the future.

“That means transforming primary care and GP services - increasing the role that other health professionals play in delivering care and making it much more of a team approach, allowing GPs to focus on those patients specifically in need of their expertise.

“And we have allocated £20 million over the next year to ease some of the immediate challenges facing the GP workforce. We will also continue our work with the profession to negotiate a new GP contract for 2017, which will be instrumental in delivering our shared vision for the future of GP services.”

Notes to editors

Funded initiatives in a range of areas across Scotland include:

  • Scottish Rural Medicine Collaborative involving seven rural boards: this project seeks to develop a unified recruitment strategy, create a community of Scottish Rural GPs, organisations and health boards to provide mutual support through education and professional networking.
  • New GP Development Fellow posts. These are development opportunities for both newly qualified and more experienced General Practitioners to encourage them to either take up post or continue their career in general practice.
  • Two new posts which will combine GP hours in the Out of Hours period in the Borders with daytime hours in other areas.
  • Development of a locum pool of retired GPs in Lothian.
  • A project in Lanarkshire to ‎develop a programme of recruitment and retention activities tailored to local need.
  • A General Practice Recruitment Programme led by the Royal College of General Practitioners.
  • Advanced Nurse Practitioner prescribing training and support for GPs in practice in Shetland.
  • A pilot project to assess and address specific, current recruitment difficulties and support for a GP induction programme.
  • Continued development of the successful Scotland GP Returner and Enhanced Induction Programme run by NHS Education Scotland.
  • Deep End Pioneer Scheme – to support recruitment and retention of both early career and experienced general practitioners working in very deprived areas.


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