Health Education England (HEE) has announced a new scheme that will pay £20,000 to GP trainees who commit to working in the least sought after areas of the country.

The Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme is offering the one-time bursary as an incentive for training family doctors to select one of 109 places across the country with the lowest recruitment levels, including the Isle of Wight, West Lakes and East Cumbria.

“These areas often have an extremely good track record for education, but are initially less popular simply because of their geographical location,” HEE said.

“As these placements are often in smaller communities where a greater number of services need to be delivered locally rather than relying on large teaching hospitals, doctors working in these areas often receive an increased breadth of training and many more opportunities for diversification”.

The bursary only gets paid once trainee GPs sign a document agreeing to complete the three-year placement, with no option for relocation.

The Royal College of General Practioners (RCGP) has welcomed the move. 

“This initiative is something that the College has been proposing for some time and we are pleased to see it being implemented,” said RCGP chair Maureen Baker. “Similar schemes have worked really well for other careers, such as teaching, and we hope it will encourage new GPs to under-doctored areas in the best interests of providing safe care now and in the future, wherever our patients live”.