GP Retainer 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 (Doctors previously on the 2016 scheme will continue on it, but membership of that scheme is now closed – see bottom of page). The scheme continues to be managed jointly by the local offices of Health Education England (HEE) (through the designated HEE RGP Scheme Lead) and NHS England. More details about this scheme are below.

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.

This scheme enables a doctor to remain in clinical practice for a maximum of four clinical sessions (16 hours 40 minutes) per week - 208 sessions per year, 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 relevUnlinkant 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 HEE 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 (link:

Information about applying to the GP Retention Scheme in London

For further information on applying to the scheme in London, please contact:

The GP Retention Scheme Coordinator


Please submit your application to the GP Retention Scheme Coordinator via the above generic email address. 

You may also want to contact our Scheme Lead for London:

Dr Celia Dawson 

The scheme leads speak to all prospective GP Retainees, help to organise the twice yearly development days, and are available to provide advice and support for Retainer GPs and their practices, including a yearly review for each Retainer GP.

London GP Retainer / Induction & Refresher Development Days

Two development days are held each year for London Retainer GPs and Induction & Refresher Scheme GPs. These free educational days are a great opportunity to meet with other Retainer GPs and we encourage all Retainer GPs to attend.



The new GP Retention Scheme replaces the interim Retained Doctors Scheme 2016.

Doctors who joined the scheme before April 2017 who are therefore on the Retained Doctors Scheme 2016 will remain on it until their time on the scheme ends, or until 30 June 2019, whichever is the sooner. After that date the top-up funding will no longer be available, and remaining retainees can transfer to the GP Retention Scheme for the rest of their time on the scheme.

The scheme continues to be managed jointly by the local offices of Health Education England (HEE) (through the designated HEE RGP Scheme Lead) and NHS England.

Click here for the guidance for the 2016 scheme.

Doctors on the 2016 scheme will use the same form for their annual review as doctors on the new scheme, which is available here: