NHS launches scheme to cover childcare costs for GPs

In a bid to boost GP numbers, a new scheme has been launched to help towards the costs of caring for children or family members.

Qualified GPs who are interested in coming back to the NHS or joining from overseas will now able to access financial support worth up to £2,000 if family responsibilities would be a barrier.

Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director for primary care at NHS England, said: “Family doctors and their teams have played a vital role during the coronavirus pandemic and rapidly adapted how they work to ensure people can still access care in new and more convenient ways, and our ambition remains to recruit thousands more GPs and other clinicians to offer the best care we can for our patients.”

“GPs, like those in any other walk of life, might take time out from their career to raise a family which can bring additional challenges, move or work abroad or gain experience in a different profession or role.”

“But whatever the reason, there is a direct route for those that wish to return to a career in NHS general practice, at a time when the NHS needs all the expertise it can draw on to help in the ongoing response to coronavirus – and thanks to this brilliant scheme, it has never been easier.”

The NHS has confirmed it will also cover those with caring responsibilities. Anyone already on the scheme can claim costs back retrospectively up to 1st April this year.

Dr Samira Anane, BMA GP committee workforce policy lead, said: “General practice continues to be in desperate need of doctors, and therefore it makes no sense for childcare and other caring responsibilities to be a barrier for those GPs who want to offer their valuable and much-needed skills to the NHS.”

“These may be doctors who have taken time away from practice to have children and we must do all we can to support them when they want to return to the frontline.”

“We are glad that this support – already available to employed workers – is now available to those on this scheme, and, after pressure from the BMA, has been extended to returning GPs with other caring responsibilities as well.”

“We are committed to supporting a diverse workforce, and doctors should not be forced to choose between caring for their families or caring for patients. We hope these changes will allow more skilled GPs back into the workforce.”