Sunderland Echo

Recruited GPs have stayed to work in city

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Just two GPs recruited to work in Sunderland through a “golden hello” scheme have left the city since it launched in 2015.

The programme was intended to address a shortage of family doctors on Wearside by offering perks such as cash for training courses and the opportunit­y to work with specialist­s in the North East.

Since it was set up, 30 places have been offered to trainees, with 16 of the 18 to have completed the course so far opting to stay in Sunderland.

And according to a review of the initiative, its alumni are taking up increasing­ly advanced roles.

It said: “There are some examples of the specialist interests being pursued by the career start GPs contributi­ng to emerging models of care in Sunderland, as well as career start GPs taking on leadership roles.

“However, there is a need to build on this and strengthen alignment to deliver the principles of the new national fellowship programme model.

“It is difficult to draw firm conclusion­s of the views of the participan­ts. However it seems to suggest the scheme was overall a positive experience for GPs and host practices,” added the review’s author.

The report was prepared by the Sunderland Clinical Commission­ing Group (CCG), which funds the scheme to the tune of £600,000 a year.

It was launched following a 2014 survey which showed more than a quarter of Wearside’s GPs were over 55 and warned changing pension rules was likely to make many opt for early retirement.

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