A new initiative aimed at retaining the services of senior GPs – and boosting new recruits to the profession – has been launched in Suffolk and north east Essex.
The GP Support Hub hopes to attract newly qualified medics into choosing a career in general practice rather than opting to work in hospitals or other health facilities. It also aims to persuade doctors who are currently considering retirement, or those who have already retired, to extend their careers. Hub staff will be available at the end of a phone line to provide serving and would-be GPs with information, advice and guidance. They will also be on hand to support retired doctors who want to return to the service and GPs looking to get back to work after having children.
The hub will be run by the Suffolk GP Federation and funded by the NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS North East Essex clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
It is part of a national drive to retain and recruit more GPs. Currently more are retiring than completing the training to enter the profession.
Dr Paul Driscoll, Medical Director at the Suffolk GP Federation, said:
“We are dedicated to improving the career opportunities of doctors and other healthcare professionals working in general practice in Suffolk and north east Essex. As elsewhere in the UK, the local area faces many challenges in recruiting and retaining GPs. We hope by providing support and advice on all matters relating to GP development, return to work, health and wellbeing, recruitment and appraisals we can help to encourage GPs to come and work here. We also want more senior GPs to consider working for longer and would encourage them to contact our dedicated support line for advice”.
Dr Christopher Browning, chair of the NHS West Suffolk CCG, said:
“The CCG is pleased to be working with Suffolk GP Federation to offer this new local service for GPs in Suffolk and north east Essex. The GP Support Hub would particularly like to make contact with any GPs in the local community who are thinking of returning to practice. There is a wide range of new job opportunities available and education and training packages to support them in returning to work. We value all of our GPs and want to offer a bespoke advice service for our existing GPs and those who would like to come and work in the area.”
Dr Mark Shenton, chair of the NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG, said:
“Locally there are many GP career development schemes and advice networks available, but access to them is inconsistent and confusing. The hub will help GPs navigate and apply for support from appropriate schemes. It will be able to provide confidential advice and administration support, which is often a headache for GPs.”