£20,000 'golden hello' for rural GPs

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a £4 million scheme to incentivise newly-qualified GPs to begin their careers in struggling areas.

A one-off payment of £20,000 will be offered to 200 GPs from 2018 in an attempt to ‘reduce the pressure’ on practices in rural and coastal areas of England.

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP), whose annual conference the Health Secretary is due to address, welcomed Hunt’s announcement, saying there was a ‘serious shortage’ of family doctors. As of September 2016, there were 41,985 GPs in England.

Speaking to the BBC, Hunt said: "What we're looking to do is to reduce the pressure on those GP practices which are doing a very, very valiant job but can't look after patients as well as they want to, because they're finding it hard to recruit.”

Hunt is also expected to tell the RCGP conference of new plans for flexible working for older doctors and an overseas recruitment office which will aim to attract GPs from countries outside Europe to work in England.

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