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£20k bursary to train as GP in under-doctored areas

Seven least popular areas of England to benefit from trainee recruitment scheme

Louise Prime

Tuesday, 02 February 2016

Would-be GPs accepted onto training places in the least popular areas of England will be offered an extra £20,000 bursary from this year, Health Education England (HEE) has announced. The bursary will be paid as a one-off lump sum at the start of training.

HEE identified 109 training places that had the consistently lowest fill rates over the past three years, 2013 to 2015. These hard-to-recruit places fall in seven areas: East Midlands – Lincolnshire; HE North East – East Cumbria; HE North East – West Lakes; HE North West – South Cumbria; HE North West – Blackpool; HE Yorkshire and the Humber – Northern Lincolnshire (Scunthorpe & Grimsby) GP Scheme; and HE Wessex – Isle of Wight.

HEE said the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme would help recruit trainee GPs into those areas whose geographical location alone has in the past made them less appealing and thus harder to recruit into; for example, they might be remote from large towns, and so unfamiliar because they’re not routinely used for medical school placements. It noted that although GP trainees could initially be reluctant to apply for places in these areas, once there they tended to stay because they discovered that the locations had “hidden attractions”.

HEE pointed out there could also be many educational benefits of working in these areas, compared with the more popular areas. It said: “The quality of placements in such areas are at least equivalent to all other placements and are often more highly rated by trainees who work there. As these placements are often in smaller communities where a greater number of services need to be delivered locally rather than relying on large teaching hospitals, doctors working in these areas often receive an increased breadth of training and many more opportunities for diversification.”

It added: “Once you get there, you may well find that the lifestyle is much more relaxed than in our big cities.”

GP trainees must sign an agreement in which they commit to completing their three-year placement, with no option to relocate; if they leave the scheme early they will have to repay the bursary, on a pro-rata basis. HEE encourages applicants to take advice, based on their individual circumstances, about the tax implications of accepting a bursary.

Round 1 applicants who are interested in the scheme may review their preferences within Oriel, prioritising a ‘hard to recruit to’ training place, and resubmit their preferred training locations by Friday 12 February.

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