Successful recruitment and retention in under-doctored areas is more subtle than offering ‘golden hellos’, an NHS primary care chief has said.
Referring to NHS England’s recent £10m plan to kick start the development of primary care, NHS England head of primary care commissioning Dr David Geddes said that golden handshakes could result in a bidding war. In challenging areas such as rural locations, he said that solutions include better infrastructural support, for example, the development of education and training ‘hubs’, induction, returner, retainee and rotation schemes, transferable competencies, and additional training for GPs and pharmacists.
Discussing new models of care, NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon warned that the NHS was “within inches of losing the family doctor” but that there was the potential to create “something quite extraordinary”. However, this should not be something “the cat might offer the canary”, he added.
Service redesign had to be complemented by funding allocations that provided “equitable funding for equitable services and equitable access to other services”, noted Wessex LMC chief executive Dr Nigel Watson, who also spoke at the conference on primary care and the developing role of the GP.
During the conference, regulations were also raised, and the DDA asked pharmacy representative Professor Rob Darracott (of Pharmacy Voice) about the potential for prescription direction to discourage pharmacists from developing specialist skills. He said that in some ways the regulations around prescription direction could be seen as “old money” and a “distraction” from the core need to move the pharmacy contract away from volume.