The Return to Practice (RtP) programme provides a safe, supported pathway for qualified GPs wishing to return to NHS General Practice after an absence.

Video: GP Return to Practice

Information for GPs wanting to return to practice in England.

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Male voice: The following presentation will provide information for doctors wishing to return to practice as a GP in the NHS.

Are you looking to return to work in the NHS as a GP again? 

If you've had a break from clinical NHS GP experience for a period of time, you may require support to return to practice. The Return to Practice programme is designed to support and help you safely return to clinical NHS general practice. A career as a GP is a rewarding one, but it can also be challenging and diverse and this programme provides a funded, supported safe and direct return into the profession. 

The first step is to apply to enter the English Medical Performers List via Primary Care Support England. Once you have checked that you qualify for the programme and hold the necessary licences and qualifications, starting the application is easy and support is available along the way. You will have a review of your needs based on your circumstances and experience. In some cases you may be able to return to practice after a period of induction and/or mentorship. 

In other cases, again depending on your circumstances, you may require more support, and be placed on the Return to Practice pathway which is eligible for bursary funding along with additional support. Details are available on the National Recruitment Office website. You will need to register with the National Recruitment Office to get started and will then have access to on online resources.

Once you're registered, you'll have a local contact to help guide you through the process and answer your questions.

Following the review, if you are required to follow the Return to Practice pathway, depending on your needs and experience, you may be able to provide a portfolio of evidence.

The portfolio option is available for doctors who have previously worked as a GP in the UK and are now working in a similar role in the UK or abroad but would like to return to  NHS general practice. In other cases, you may be required to complete the Multiple Choice Questionnaire assessment.

This assessment can be undertaken in the UK or at certain selected overseas venues. In either case, this will be followed by a supported clinical placement in an approved practice.

The supervised clinical placement is in a GP surgery and tailored to meet your educational and personal needs. It will include a workplace based report to permit final approval of your placement by NHS England and entry to the Performers List. The Return to Practice programme enables qualified GPs to be placed on the Performers List and return to work as independent general practitioners. 

The programme has been jointly developed and supported by NHS England, the General Medical Council, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association.

Media last reviewed: 21 February 2023

The Return to Practice (RtP) programme is designed for General Practitioners (GPs) who have previously been on the General Medical Council (GMC) GP Register and England Medical Performers List (MPL) and would like to return to work in general practice after a break in their career, raising a family or time spent working abroad.

The programme offers personalised pathways based on the individual needs of each returning GP. It has been developed in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and British Medical Association (BMA).

All GPs are required to be on NHS England’s MPL and the GMC GP register before they can practise.

The UK is made up of 4 countries and this guide concerns applications made to practise in England. If you are applying to practise in another part of the UK, please visit the appropriate website:

Any doctor with Performers List or GMC conditions or undertakings who is required to complete a remedial training plan imposed by NHS England and is considering a return to NHS general practice, should contact their NHS England local team to discuss their circumstances and level of support required. 

Features of the programme

You will have access to a dedicated educational lead to help guide you through the process. They can provide support such as:

  • developing a personal educational pathway suited to your needs
  • coordinating any assessments that you may be required undertake
  • finding a suitable practice that is able to offer you a placement, or offering advice in relation to undertaking the programme whilst employed by a practice
  • guidance on completing forms and paperwork
  • assistance with arranging occupational health assessments

The programme will be tailored to fit around your needs and personal commitments. Further information can be found on the Registering for the Programme page.

Financial support is also available for candidates, which includes:

  • help with indemnity costs
  • help towards the costs of child or social care
  • a monthly clinical placement bursary of up to £4,000 or equivalent salary
  • help with visa costs and sponsorship

Further information regarding help with funding can be found on our financial support and funding page.

Completing the Programme

To successfully complete the Return to Practice programme and be entered onto the Performers List without restrictions, there are a number of requirements.

  • A satisfactory Workplace Based Assessment (WPBA) report including multi-source feedback and patient satisfaction questionnaire, where the WBPA has been undertaken as part of the programme.
  • Completed the mandatory e-Learning for Health modules on GP induction. This includes the Safeguarding Children and Adults modules. These should be completed prior to starting the clinical placement.

  • Submitted the appropriate WPBA report, where the WBPA was required, and any other required evidence to the local medical educational lead. They will send the report to the local NHS England medical team.
  • Started your portfolio preparation for an early appraisal in the placement. This will be a Performers List requirement on exit from the RtP placement, normally required at 3 to 6 months after successful programme completion (see appraisal guidance).
  • Received confirmation from the local NHS England medical team where you plan to work that you are included on the Performers List without restrictions.

To help keep track of your progress, you can download and use the Completing the Programme Checklist, available on the downloads of this page.

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2023
Next review due: 3 June 2024

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