GPs are being offered £15,000 as well as support in relocating, to join practices in deprived and under-staffed areas of the South of England.
In September, NHS England asked integrated care boards (ICBs) to identify where to allocate potential winter support funding to GP practices and PCNs, focusing on areas with deprivation and recruitment challenges.
Now it has been announced that incentives will be given to doctors applying for roles at practices in Kent.
The local ICB is advertising for 20 new roles at practices across the county after approving a £500,000 package.
These include Swale, Thanet, Medway, Bethesda, Dashwood, Summerhill and The Limes surgeries as well as in other areas of the county.
New recruits will receive a ‘welcome payment’ of up to £15,000, spread across 13 months for non-fellowship roles.
The ICB also have additional coastal fellowship roles which will see GPs working on coastal specialisms alongside days in practice, as practices in these areas face particular struggles.
If candidates apply for a fellowship post, this funding will support the training element.
These are separate to national golden handshake schemes, which see GPs being given £20,000 to take partnership roles.
Rebecca Bradd, chief people officer at NHS Kent and Medway, said: ‘GP recruitment is understood to be difficult across the country and we know that in Kent and Medway we have lower than average numbers of GPs.
‘This is true particularly in our coastal areas, where health inequalities are greater. We are piloting a recruitment campaign, which targets areas most in need of GPs, with a package that gives an incentive to join and importantly, to stay by providing excellent training, development and the ability to build fulfilling careers and homes for GPs and their families.’
Dr Gaurav Gupta, chair of the Kent LMC, said: ‘GPs across Kent and Medway work incredibly hard but with increasing demand it’s important we attract new doctors to come and support us.
‘We are sure this initiative will be a success in raising the profile of Kent and Medway as a great place to work and the benefits will be felt across the county.’
The job advert, posted on the ICB’s website, said: ‘In addition to the variety of GP responsibilities you’d expect, you’ll also develop the practice as a learning environment and create new placements for trainees across a variety of professions.
‘One of the country’s largest ICBs, we’re home to a brand-new medical school training aspiring doctors to deliver leading-edge medicine.
‘Our communities are as diverse as our landscape areas of coastal and rural beauty, with all the associated challenges.
‘Join us and, as part of a network of likeminded GPs, you’ll help develop new ways of delivering healthcare relevant to our local population.’
The advert also said that discussions around partnerships are welcome.
Last month, it was announced that GP practices in deprived areas of Sussex will receive a £1.5m winter funding cash injection.
Sussex Health and Care ICS initially announced the funding in November as part of a set of measures aimed at ‘improving access to primary care this winter’.
Dr Amanda Doyle, NHS England’s director of primary care and community services, said: ‘Recognising the fundamental importance of primary care in underpinning NHS services, a critical part of this plan is to increase capacity outside of acute trusts, which includes the scaling up of additional roles in primary care, increasing the flexibility for primary care networks to do this, and taking further action to support general practice.’
This article first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.