Headlines: January 13th, 1999

The Health Service has come up with a new approach to helping GPs stay in touch with their profession while taking a break from full-time working.Worried that doctors who take a career break for family or other reasons might not return to the profession, the NHS Executive has opened up a way to stay in touch with developments and practice.

The GP Retainer Scheme, first announced last summer, has been revised to allow practices to employ a doctor for up to fourteen hours a week while they keep their skills up to scratch.

The change has been worked up jointly by the British Medical Association’s GP committee, the NHS Executive and the Directors of Post Graduate GP Education.

Heath Minister John Denham said: “The Government is aware that there are problems with recruitment and retention of GPs in particular geographical areas. We are committed to tackling these problems and alleviating the local situation and this is the latest of a number of initiatives.”