GP retainers

Sessional GPs now make up a substantial part of the GP workforce in London. Londonwide LMCs is dedicated to ensuring that the interests of this important part of the workforce is fully represented on LMCs across the capital.

The LMC is here to support all sessional GPs. We are continually encouraging GP partners to provide the best possible working agreements for all sessional GPs and practice staff. We also welcome sessional GPs onto our LMCs as any GP on a Medical Performers list working in the area can stand for election to become an LMC member.

Help us to help you: ensure that your contact details with Londonwide are correct so that you can receive up to date information and newsletters. Make the most of the support available to you.

Helpful Documents and Links 

GP retention guidance

Annual scheme form

End of scheme form

Extension form

Information from the BMA website

Frequently Asked Questions


Step by step guide

Step 1. Who is eligible?

Doctors applying for the scheme must be in good standing with the General Medical Council (GMC) without GMC conditions or undertakings – except those relating solely to health matters. The scheme is not intended for the purpose of supporting a doctor’s remediation and where the relevant NHS England Responsible Officer has concerns, the doctor would not usually be eligible for the scheme.

The scheme is open to doctors who meet ALL of the following criteria:

1. Where a doctor is seriously considering leaving or has left general practice (but is still on the National Medical Performers List) due to:

  • Personal reasons – such as caring responsibilities for family members (children or adults) or personal health reasons, or
  • Approaching retirement, or
  • Require greater flexibility in order to undertake other work either within or outside of general practice.

2. And when a regular part-time role does not meet the doctor’s need for flexibility, for example the requirement for short clinics or annualised hours.

3. And where there is a need for additional educational supervision. For example a newly qualified doctor needing to work 1-4 sessions a week due to caring responsibilities or those working only 1-2 sessions where pro-rata study leave allowance is inadequate to maintain continuing professional development and professional networks.

Doctors must hold full registration and a licence to practice with the GMC and be on the National Medical Performers List.

Doctors who are interested in applying to the scheme should contact their HEE Scheme Lead who will be able to advise on their eligibility for the scheme. 

Step 2. What is defined as a 'session'?

A retained GP session is defined as being 4 hours and 10 minutes.

This includes administrative time, clinical meetings and dialogue with the clinical supervisor.

The pattern of sessions worked will be agreed with the retained GP at least once each year and the practice will offer flexibility.

These sessions will be within general practice or care settings where patients would usually expect a consultation with a GP.

Step 3. What is the incentive for the retained GP?

The scheme can help you if you want to reduce your hours due to parental or other carer responsibilities, if you want to reduce your hours later in your career or if you wish to reduce your hours due to other work commitments (either inside or outside of general practice). It can help you to find a practice which has suitable working hours available.

Retained GPs (RGPs) may work between one and four sessions per week and may be on the scheme for up to five years with an annual review each year to ensure that they remain eligible.

The scheme supports both the retained GP and the practice employing them by offering financial support in recognition of the fact that this role is different to a 'regular' salaried GP post.

The retained GP will be offered an annual allowance as indicated in the table below. All of this money (aside from tax and national insurance deductions) is to be passed on to the retained GP. The practice must not make deductions for any other reason.

Step 4. What is the incentive for the practice?

Each practice employing a retained GP will be able to claim an allowance relating to the number of sessions for which the GP is engaged.

For each session a retained GP works, the practice can claim a payment of £76.92. As an example, a practice will be eligible to claim £16,000 per year for a retained GP undertaking four sessions per week.

This allowance will be paid for all sessions including sick leave, annual leave and educational leave where the retained GP is being paid by the practice.

Step 5. What are the contractual implications?

The retained GP will be classed as a salaried employee of the practice. The BMA has produced a Retained GP model contract, based on the salaried GP contract. We recommend that this model contract, which can be accessed here (link ) via the BMA website, is used for all retained GPs.

As previously stated, retained GPs may be on the scheme for up to five years. Retained GPs will be required to undergo an Annual Review with the GP Dean or their nominated deputy; this will allow careful consideration as to their needs and requirements for future months and whether they should remain on the scheme.

Retained GPs will still need to comply with revalidation and annual appraisal via their Responsible Officer.

Step 6. Will training be provided? 

All retained GPs, irrespective of length of service, must go through an appropriate induction programme.

The practice will be required to offer the retained GP experience of a sufficiently wide range of general practice experience to ensure that they retain their skills.

This will be mutually agreed and stated within the job plan, which will include hours of work, duties, time set aside for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and necessary attendance at meetings.

Step 7. Who will manage the scheme?

The GP Dean or designated deputy will manage the scheme, including monitoring educational aspects, maintaining a database of retained GPs and practices and developing a support network within their region. Records of this will be retained by the Health Education England (HEE) local team for audit purposes for up to six years and will be shared with NHS England quarterly.

Applications are encouraged from any area in England.

The retained GP allowance will be paid at the commencement of employment and then each year on the anniversary following successful review subject to a reapplication process. 

The GP Dean will inform NHS England local teams of any practices employing a retained GP, monitor numbers and feedback other information at regular intervals to the central HEE and NHS England teams. They will also follow up the outcomes to enable an assessment of impact to be carried out.

Practices which have been identified by HEE will be able to receive the additional top up allowance from their NHS England local team even where the CCG has delegated co-commissioning. In this case, the SFE allowance will be paid by the CCG as normal and the top up by the NHS England local team. Practices will need to submit a claim form for the additional sum, including the GP allowance, from the NHS England local team.

Last updated : 31 Jul 2018