The General Practice Retention (RGP) Scheme is a package of financial and educational support to help eligible doctors (who might otherwise leave the profession) remain in General Practice. It is part of wider national programmes for the retention of the GP workforce.
Retention Scheme for Qualified GPs
The GP Retention Scheme is a package of financial and educational support to help doctors, who might otherwise leave the profession, remain in clinical general practice. The scheme is managed jointly by the local offices of Health Education England (HEE) and NHS England.
- The scheme offers a bespoke programme for placement mainly driven by doctor’s own needs, personal development plan and placement of choice
- The educational package is agreed between the practice and prospective RGP with support and approval by Workforce, Training and Education Directorate (WTED) Lead
- Application for the placement requires the practice to agree a job plan and offer a contract of employment that meets national standards for salaried GPs (BMA model contract for salaried GPs)
- Once educational and employment arrangements have been agreed and ready to set up the application is reviewed by local ICB (as nominated deputy for medical director NHS England)
- The placement can only commence with formal approval by NHS England and requires annual review of arrangements so that each placement continues to offer individualised arrangements that meet GP’s needs
The requirements for application and financial arrangements are well established and have been set out in the National GP Retention Scheme Guidance. The criteria are strictly applied when considering applications.
More information on eligibility, the application process and the standardised application form can be found on NHS England’s who is Eligible webpage.
The application is a joint application for prospective RGP and their practice team to complete. An overview of the process for consideration of applications is as follows:
Find a host practice, agree on employment arrangements and start date
1. RGP scheme requires the host practice to be able to provide an educational environment that meets RGPs needs and willing to provide protected time for professional and educational development.
2. The host practice will need to nominate an educational supervisor with experience and skills in this role – it is usually a person who is involved in GP training or someone who has completed educational supervision course. Prospective ‘host’ practice may wish to make arrangements for a GP to attend a supervisor’s course to take part in the scheme. For more information on this, please see contact details below.
3. The guidance recommends consideration to be given to practices serving in the area of high deprivation or those where it is harder to recruit GPs
4. Discuss arrangements to join the practice with a start date (ideally allowing a couple of months for consideration of RGP applications).
Submit an application
Once a host practice has been found and you have agreed on employment arrangements and a start date, you will need to complete an application form.
To make this process successful, please ensure you follow the National GP Retention Scheme Guidance.
You can also contact your local LMCs who may be able to help identify a practice in the area of your choice whom you could approach, or you can see contact details below for further advice and support in making your application.
RGP placement arrangements
1. Once application has been formally submitted, it is quality assured by the programme lead to ensure that applicants personal circumstances, educational plan and proposed educational environment meet the criteria set out in the national guidance. It follows trilateral dialogue between practices, prospective RGPs and programme lead to ensure fullest information and supporting documentation is available for the consideration of applications.
2. The application is processed to local ICB who consider the application against National criteria.
3. Once application is formally approved the applicant, their host practice and NHS finance team are notified with agreed start date.
Practical tips to make the process successful:
a) Provide up to date and functional contact details to ensure timely follow up on any observations related to application / supporting document
b) Please ensure supporting documents include CV, evidence of intentions to leave (appraisal document summarising intentions, resignation letter), relevant clinical information if application is based on health grounds
c) The application needs to demonstrate that personal circumstances would prevent continuing practice in medicine without support, there will be professional isolation if educational support was not provided and the practice has capacity and ability to meet the RGPs needs
If your annual review is due, please complete the relevant sections on the National GP Retention Scheme – Application / Annual Review Form and return by email to the below contact details.
If you are wanting to apply for an extension to the GP retention scheme (usually only for sick leave or maternity leave), please complete the National GP Retention Scheme – Extension Form.
It is important to note that the GP retention scheme is a tiny part of the extensive package of support set up to encourage the retention of GPs in the workforce. You may wish to explore widely potential options and opportunities to benefit from various schemes on offer. You can also speak to a mentor / coach who could help you consider your options at this critical point in your career.
A coach / mentor may be able to offer some dedicated time for you to explore a more comprehensive picture and longer-term future plan – you may be aware that NHS offers free sessions with a coach, please visit the NHS looking after you too webpage.
For more information and support, please visit, Supporting our NHS people website.
Any further queries?
For the GP Retention scheme FAQ, please contact the relevant office.
Primary Care School contact details
Thames Valley: email@example.com
Programme lead: Dr Adam Monk
Programme support: Anne Mitson
Programme support: Lucy Wyatt
Induction and Refresher scheme
The NHS GP Induction and Refresher (I&R) Scheme is designed to provide a safe, supported and direct route for qualified GPs to join or return to NHS general practice. Details are on the GP National Recruitment Office website.
Andrea Csanyine Lorincz
I&R Scheme Lead for Thames Valley area
Dr Shareen Hallas