GP Returners

GP Return to Practice Programme – Relaunch August 2023

NHS England have relaunched the GP Return to Practice (RtP) Programme, implementing recommendations from the NHS England/HEE review of the programme that was completed earlier this year alongside the BMA and RCGP. It introduces the following improvements to the programme:

  • A more flexible and streamlined programme offering personalised pathways built around the individual needs of each GP
  • A less confusing programme for GPs with the closure of the multiple schemes that currently sit under the programme
  • A move away from a “one size fits all” and the expectation that all domestic returners must undertake assessments and placements, particularly those GPs with breaks of less than 5 years
  • Widening eligibility for the RCGP managed Portfolio Route to include some domestic returners that have been working in other clinical fields
  • Offering mentorship to returning GPs either as additional support or instead of assessments/placements
  • The option for GPs to access support to return under a defined scope of practice
  • The option for returning GPs to undertake the programme whilst employed providing access to employment rights such as sick pay and annual leave for the first time
  • Increased financial support with the monthly bursary for GPs rising to £4000 per month backdated to 1 April 2023
  • A move to a self-declaration process for occupational health meaning that the majority of returners will no longer be required to arrange an occupational health check
  • A reduction in bureaucracy and paperwork and a new online application system
  • Full details of the programme can be found here on the Health Education England website

GP Retainers

See our dedicated page for the GP Retainer Scheme (launched in 2017) –

August 2023 – NHSE updated their guidance with a notable scheme change that says:-

From 1 April 2023, the formal four-session cap that a retained GP can work per week has been removed. Reimbursement will remain for up to four sessions but this does not preclude a contractor from directly employing or engaging a member of the GP Retention Scheme, at their own expense, for service sessions which are in addition to the maximum four sessions for which the contractor is eligible for payment under the Scheme.



Retained Doctor Scheme for Qualified GPs:

HEE South East Qualified GPs – Working across Wessex (

HEE South West –  Severn Primary Care (

BMA Retainer Scheme – GP retention scheme (

NHSE –  National GP Retention Scheme


Wellbeing/ Support Resources

GP Support –

Practitioner health

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