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GPs get £20k ‘golden hello’ for coast and country jobs

A ONE-OFF ‘golden hello’ of £20,000 will be offered to GPs if they start their careers in rural areas or on the coast in a bid to boost the number of doctors in areas with difficulty recruiting.

The £4million scheme being introduced next year by health secretary Jeremy Hunt is to lure 200 family doctors to areas struggling to recruit.

In another part of a package to boost the workforce, Mr Hunt is also due to announce flexible working for older GPs to encourage them to retire later.

He will also confirm plans for an overseas recruitment office to try to attract GPs from outside Europe — particularly Australia — when he speaks at the annual conference of the Royal College of GPs in Liverpool today.

Mr Hunt will try to address GPs’ concerns over the rising costs of clinical negligence indemnity by signalling plans for a new state-backed scheme. GPs say fees of around £8,000 a year for the cover are forcing them out of the profession.

The Department of Health has also launched a consultation on the regulation of physician associates (PAs) — usually science graduates who have undergone two years of intensive training — amid concerns about how much responsibility they should take on.