GP Retention Scheme


GP Retention Scheme

The GP Retention Scheme is a package of financial and educational support to help doctors, who might otherwise leave the profession, remain in clinical general practice.

The GP Retention Scheme replaces the Retained Doctors Scheme 2016. The scheme continues to be managed jointly by the local offices of NHS England (NHSE) (through the designated NHSE RGP Scheme Lead) and NHS England.


About the scheme

The scheme is aimed at doctors who are seriously considering leaving or have left general practice due to personal reasons (caring responsibilities or personal illness), approaching retirement or requiring greater flexibility. The scheme supports both the retained GP and the practice employing them by offering financial support in recognition of the fact that this role is different to a ‘regular’ part-time, salaried GP post, offering greater flexibility and educational support.

Retained GPs may be on the scheme for a maximum of five years with an annual review each year to ensure that the doctor remains in need of the scheme and that the practice is meeting its obligations.

From 1 April 2023, the formal four-session cap that a retained GP can work per week has been removed. Reimbursement will remain for up to four sessions but this does not preclude a contractor from directly employing or engaging a member of the GP Retention Scheme, at their own expense, for service sessions which are in addition to the maximum four sessions for which the contractor is eligible for payment under the Scheme. This scheme enables a doctor to remain in clinical practice which includes protected time for continuing professional development and with educational support.

Who is eligible

Doctors applying for the scheme must be in good standing with the General Medical Council (GMC) without GMC conditions or undertakings - except those relating solely to health matters. The scheme is not intended for the purpose of supporting a doctor’s remediation and where the relevant NHS England Responsible Officer has concerns, the doctor would not usually be eligible for the scheme.

The scheme is open to doctors who meet ALL of the following criteria:

1.         Where a doctor is seriously considering leaving or has left general practice (but is still on the National Medical Performers List) due to:

a. Personal reasons – such as caring responsibilities for family members (children or adults) or personal health reasons


 b. Approaching retirement


c. Require greater flexibility in order to undertake other work either within or outside of general practice.

2.         And when a regular part-time role does not meet the doctor’s need for flexibility, for example the requirement for short clinics or annualised hours.

3.         And where there is a need for additional educational supervision. For example a newly qualified doctor needing to work 1-4 sessions a week due to caring responsibilities or those working only 1-2 sessions where pro-rata study leave allowance is inadequate to maintain continuing professional development and professional networks.

Doctors must hold full registration and a licence to practice with the GMC and be on the National Medical Performers List.

Doctors who are interested in applying to the scheme should contact their designated NHSE RGP Scheme Lead who will be able to advise on their eligibility for the scheme.


Full details regarding the scheme are available are on the NHS England website, with the handbook, an FAQ document, and application forms.

Your local North East Retention Scheme contact is Dr Iain Lawther.  Iain is more than happy to answer any general enquiries you may have about the scheme and discuss your suitability to join.



NHS England GP Retention Scheme  - Handbook/FAQs and Application form

BMA Employment and Careers advice, including advice on contracts

GMC - Applying to join the medical register

NHSE - Applying to join the Performers List

Local Medical Committees