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The GP retainer scheme: Report of a national survey

Lockyer, Lesley; Young, Pat; Main, Paul; Morison, Jim


Lesley Lockyer

Pat Young

Paul Main

Jim Morison


The current context of organisational change and new working patterns, together with the high cost of medical training, mean it is of vital importance that the NHS retains its trained workforce. The GP retainer scheme supports doctors who for reasons of personal circumstance are restricted in their ability to compete for employment in medicine, and aims to facilitate the retention of their skills and confidence. This national study evaluates the experiences and views of current and past GP retainers and provides a rigorous assessment of the retainer scheme. It is a mixed method study: an online questionnaire was completed by 318 current and ex-retainers across the UK; follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with 30 respondents. The study finds that the GP retainer scheme is effective in retaining GPs through times of transition and provides evidence to support the continuing funding of the scheme across the UK. The scheme is beneficial for doctors who also have a role in caring for young children and is also highly valued by a minority of GP retainers who are using it to return to work after illness, or to practice in a more limited role, due to chronic illness or disability. This study found variations in the implementation of the educational entitlement which is fundamental to the scheme. A minority of retainers experienced problems with the implementation of the scheme and recommendations are made for improvements.


Lockyer, L., Young, P., Main, P., & Morison, J. (2014). The GP retainer scheme: Report of a national survey. Education for Primary Care, 25(6), 338-346

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 1, 2014
Journal Education for Primary Care
Print ISSN 1473-9879
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 6
Pages 338-346
Keywords clinical support, general practice, retainer scheme, retention, skill development
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