General practitioner Wales

Last updated:

GPs forced to pay for retraining

Lack of funding is preventing GPs from retraining after career breaks.

The BMA Welsh GPs committee said that some returning doctors were being asked to subsidise their placements because of insufficient funding.

The Wales Deanery told BMA News that it would fund five returning placements a year, with an option to extend that if funding allowed.

WGPC chair David Bailey said: ‘Every returner is a qualified GP, and they have already demonstrated they come up to standard.

‘These may be people who have taken a few years off to care for their children — they aren’t dinosaurs from the 1950s.

‘Many are women who have taken career breaks to have children; they’ve done their full vocational training and are still young, but they are being asked to sub their own placements as there’s no money to fund the returner to do the training or to fund the placement.’

He added: ‘These doctors have demonstrated they can do the job, and it costs a fraction to get [them] back to work compared with trainees, where there’s no guarantee they will be up to the job at the end.’

Wales Deanery sub-dean and Cardiff deputy director of general practice Phil Matthews said: ‘A £15,000 educational grant per six-month returner placement will be available for up to five such placements in each financial year. 

‘Successful applicants will undertake placements of between three and six months in length in one of our further training practices, depending on their level of educational need.

‘The dean has also indicated that, if there are sufficient funds within the deanery’s budget it may be possible for a business case to be made to extend the funding beyond five full-time equivalent placements in one year.’

He added that all returning doctors were not required to pass the MRCGP (Royal College of GPs membership) exams as part of the end-point assessment of returner placements, but they must sit the RCGP applied knowledge test.