We all know that the workforce challenge in general practice is only going to be resolved when it becomes a better place to work – a notion that feels farfetched at the moment.
Mounting workload pressures under the most difficult of circumstances is making the job near impossible, with no end in sight. The workforce expansion therefore becomes more important than ever if we are to get through this.
The pandemic has changed the landscape beyond recognition and the BMA GPs committee's primary focus in the immediate future is to support the profession through this difficult time.
During the 2020/21 GP contract negotiations we secured funding for several new schemes, and enhancements for existing ones, which should provide much needed support for different parts of the workforce. To refocus our support, we have launched a new workforce portal that sets out all the initiatives that can help us and our practice.
The initiatives span the whole career for a GP so whether you are a doctor thinking about GP training as your next step,or you are an experienced GP that wants to give back to the profession, there are options that you may find useful.
- For newly qualified GPs, the fellowship programme will offer opportunities to work across a primary care network with learning and development support from more experienced colleagues
- The new to partnership payment scheme offers both a financial incentive for clinicians to take on a partnership role for the first time and support for learning and development for the role – a significant commitment to the partnership model
- We’ve enhanced the induction and refresher scheme for colleagues new to or returning to the profession in England
- the national and local retention schemes provide support for those already part of the workforce but thinking of leaving
- The offer of the mentorship programme for GPs to pass on their wealth of experience to newer colleagues should reinforce the apprenticeship model of lifelong learning, development and support.
And for the first time, there is support for GPs with childcare and other carer costs when they need it the most so that they can return to clinical work.
The obvious challenge this year with workforce is recruitment to the ARRS (Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme) in Primary Care Networks. We are in discussions with NHSEI about how to further improve the way it works for practices.
At a time when recruitment is not going to be what was expected, we need the system to work around us to be able to expand our teams by recruiting and retaining the most valuable asset in general practice – our staff.
Please do let us know your thoughts on these schemes. If you are finding it difficult to access these schemes, please do get in touch with your LMC or contact GPC directly.
Krishna Kasaraneni is a