Health secretary pledges £20k to new GPs in rural and seaside areas

CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Plymouth Herald

Trainees in general practice working in rural and seaside towns could be given a one-off £20,000 payment, The Plymouth Herald reports.

New GPs beginning their careers in rural or seaside areas will be offered a £20,000 payment to attract them into the profession.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a package of measures to strengthen general practice in the hope of boosting recruitment.

During his speech at the Royal College of GPs annual conference in Liverpool, he put forward a series of measures included a one-off payment to try to entice 200 GPs who are beginning their careers to work in areas struggling to secure family doctors – such as rural practices and those by the seaside.

From 2018, surgeries in hard to recruit to areas will benefit from the new £4m scheme, which means the South West could see some of that money.

Mr Hunt said increasing the capacity of general practices was important for allowing “continuity of care”.

He said: “For me, the best thing about the NHS is having a doctor who knows you and your family.

“Continuity of care, which is the professional word that you use, is incredibly important to us as patients and it’s why we value our GPs and it’s why we love the NHS.

“The truth is because we have under invested in general practice over decades we have made it much, much harder for you to deliver the continuity of care which I think is at the heart of the magic of general practice and I want to turn that around.

“I recognise I can’t do that unless we get more capacity into the system.”

The Health Secretary took two questions from delegates after speaking at conference.

He told GPs there was no “silver bullet” to the problems facing them but the Government was “absolutely committed” to increasing funding and capacity.

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