Scheme giving GPs new opportunities in bid to retain staff

A new scheme aimed at offering GPs in Hartlepool different opportunities to retain them has been hailed as a '˜success story' so far.

Friday, 14th December 2018, 4:30 pm
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 4:33 pm

Funding was initially allocated within NHS England for the local GP retention programme to support 33 GPs across Cumbria and the North East, however this was extended to 35 and 96 applications were received.

The scheme supports the retention of GPs by offering them release for one session a week from working in practice and gives them opportunities to explore different work.

In total 12 applications were received from GPs in the Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG and seven were chosen to join the programme.

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Three of them are exploring 10 ‘high impact actions’ which look at ways in which they can work differently in primary care and hopefully improve workload.

Three are looking at supporting newly qualified GPs and one is exploring dermatology.

The findings were reported back to the Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Care Commissioning Group (CCG) primary care committee.

Jean Golightly, director of nursing and quality for the CCG, said: “It’s important to reflect there was 33 places and we’ve got 35 on the scheme which is a huge success.

“I think we need to think of it in terms of that as well as next time how we can improve.

“We didn’t know how many places we would get and we shot for the stars.”

Karen Hawkins, director of commissioning and transformation, said “It is a real success story but there are things we can improve upon going forward.”

Two clinical advisors have been appointed to offer mentorship to GPs on the programme and an evaluation will take place in 2019.

CCG bosses warned it is important all staff who need it get support to retain them in the system.

Chairwoman Andie Mackay said: “I’d been keen to see some feedback, we need to be supporting our GPs.”

However Helen Maynard, from NHS England, said things will be learnt from the scheme and they are looking to support GPs as best as they can.

She said: “Obviously we’re not in a position where we can offer funding and support to everyone that applied on this occasion.

“We weren’t able to support everyone on the programme, we received 96 applications and there was a finite pot of money.

“We have contacted all unsuccessful applicants via phone or email in order to ask if they were happy to have details share by the CCG in order for additional support to be afforded.

“It’s a new fund that’s only just been awarded and actually the way we should be dealing with this is a pilot and evaluating the findings.”

The current scheme will run until March 2019 and GPs on the programme will be producing a case study on their work to showcase at the end.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service