A new campaign aimed at getting hundreds of family doctors to return to general practice will be launched this week by NHS England and Health Education England.
The campaign aims to raise the profile of general practice and persuade professionals to come out of retirement and return to the professional, of which 800 have already.
The Induction and Refresher (I&R) Scheme will also be promoted through a digital, social media and print advertising campaign.
The Reverend Dr Anne Kazich, 49, who now works as both a part-time GP in Skelmersdale as well as a part-time community minister for the Anglican church, is among those who have recently returned.
The Induction and Refresher Scheme was upgraded in 2016 with a new package of support to make it easier for doctors to return to the profession and a target of recruiting 500 GPs by 2020.
By the end of 2018 a total of 785 GPs had applied to join the scheme. Of these, 279 have now fully completed the programme and joined the GP workforce in England.
Now NHS England and HEE are looking to recruit hundreds more to help deliver the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England’s acting medical director for primary care and a south-east London GP said: “We’re delighted to see how many GPs have returned via the scheme, with more than 50% of the recruitment target already achieved.
“General Practice is the bedrock of the health service and is a priority as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. We understand the pressures GPs are under, and have invested an extra £978million in core general practice funding by 2023-24 as part of the GP Contract, together with a pledge to recruit more than 20,000 healthcare workers to support family doctors over the next five years.
“This is just one of several plans we have underway to recruit more GPs, including having more trainees in place than ever before. So, it makes sense to raise the profile of a scheme that we know works and allows colleagues to return to practice safely and confidently.”
Professor Simon Gregory, Director and Dean of Education and Quality, Midlands and East and GP Lead for Health Education England said: “We are really pleased the revamped Induction and Refresher Scheme has proved so popular. It’s important that GPs who have careers breaks can safely and confidently return to practice and feel supported in doing so. The changes made to the scheme in recent years have made a huge difference and it has been great to welcome so many colleagues back and caring for patients.”