You should register with the GP National Recruitment Office (NRO) as soon as you know you want to undertake the Return to Practice (RtP) programme or need advice about it.

To register, fill-in and submit the online RtP registration form.

They will send your form to the appropriate local education team where you wish to work.

All forms should be sent to the GPNRO team via email as attachments, in a clear version, correct format and PDF attachment only.

Important: Not applying in England?

If you are applying to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales please see their websites for further information and advice:

The following information is for applicants within England. If you are applying to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales please see their websites for further information and advice:

The local education team for the RtP programme will contact you to arrange a review of your needs, based on your circumstances and experience with the RtP educational lead. If you have not heard anything within 5 working days, please let the NRO office know.

Following the review your educational lead will then be able to advise you on the next steps on the programme. Your pathway may include:

  • returning to practice after a period of induction and/or mentorship
  • a recommendation to complete a portfolio of evidence
  • providing advice on what further requirements are needed before you can undertake an RtP programme, for example, undertaking the Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) assessment
  • undertaking a supported clinical placement in an approved GP surgery

Opportunities for returning GPs to specialise under a Defined Scope

GPs applying for the Return to Practice (RtP) Programme have the option of requesting support to return to practice under a “defined scope”.

On a practical level, this means that GPs may be able to return and only deliver primary medical services in specific defined areas as opposed to delivering the full range of primary medical care services provided by other GPs.

This therefore provides an opportunity for those GPs that may wish to return to specialise in certain areas of practice, such as dermatology or sexual health.

GPs wishing returning to practice under a defined scope may be able to access bespoke support under the RtP Programme, including placements and other educational provision focused on the areas of practice where they wish they wish to specialise.

GPs returning under a defined scope will have to access to same package of financial support available to other GPs on the RtP Programme.

Each application to return under a defined scope will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and you will have the opportunity to discuss your request as part of your Learning Needs Assessment (LNA).

Return to Practice programme portfolio route

For full information, visit the Royal College of General Practictioners (RCGP) RtP portfolio route page.

Employment options

GPs accepted on to the programme may choose whether to undertake the programme as an educational placement or whilst employed as a GP by a practice.

As part of your LNA after joining the programme, there may be an agreement that you should receive some clinical and educational supervision to support your return to practice.

This supervision would usually be provided as part of a clinical placement within a training practice. During which time you would be eligible for a monthly bursary of £4,000 per month, whole time equivalent.

You may however request to receive this clinical supervision whilst directly employed by a practice. This could either be your existing employer or within a new employer.

The benefits of undertaking the programme whilst employed are that you will have a contract of employment with the practice, receive a salary and gain access to employment rights such as annual leave and sick pay.

If you do not already have an employer, you may however prefer to undertake the programme as an educational placement given this that is likely to be the quicker pathway. This may be more appropriate for those undertaking shorter placements.

As an applicant, you will need to consider the relative benefits and disadvantages of both options.

Where you choose to undertake the programme in employment, NHS England is not responsible for finding you employment but may be able to offer some guidance on looking for vacancies. It would however be your responsibility to identify and apply for local vacancies before progressing through the programme.

Where you choose to undertake the programme as a placement, NHS England will identify a suitable practice from its training practice network.

If you have an employer, NHS England will assess the practice to determine whether it is suitable to deliver the educational support that you need. Depending on the outcome of this assessment, there may be a requirement to spend some of your time on the programme within one of our training practices.

If you undertake the programme whilst in employment, NHS England will reimburse your employer for the costs of your salary whilst you are receiving clinical supervision. This salary would provide a monthly net income equivalent to the standard bursary of £4,000 full time equivalent.

You will have the opportunity to discuss these options further during your LNA interview.

Please note that there are separate arrangements in place for GPs on the programmes that will require visa sponsorship.

The educational lead will inform the GP NRO of the agreed outcome plan

Following a successful application, the GP NRO will provide you with the required details for you to register with the following websites, and begin to access the necessary e-learning modules:

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2023
Next review due: 1 August 2024

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