The RDS is aimed at GPs who are currently not practicing but have done so in the last two years, at locums who wish to take up a more permanent position in a GP practice and GPs who are considering leaving due to a need to reduce their working hours.
Dr Andrew Yager, a member of the Governing Body of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We need to have a strong GP workforce to meet the healthcare needs of people in Suffolk. The peak age for GPs to leave general practice is in their 30s and aged over 55, and is often due to parenting responsibilities or retirement.
“As in other professions, finding a suitable part-time role while juggling family commitments can be difficult. A GP might be considering retirement but doesn’t want to completely leave general practice.
“In Suffolk and across the country GPs are a valuable commodity and schemes like the RDS are a really important and effective way of helping keep experienced healthcare professionals working in Suffolk”.
Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: "It is a privilege to serve as a GP and to have an integral role in the local community. However GPs, just like those in other professions, are subject to external factors that could leave them unable to work full time. RDS is an excellent initiative that supports part-time working, benefiting the GP by enabling them to continue to practice and patients so that their healthcare needs are met."
Dr Janet Rutherford, associate dean for Suffolk, Health Education England said: “Doctors joining the scheme can work for between one and four sessions per week for up to five years. Everyone benefits, with GP practices able to employ experienced health professionals, GPs can continue working or get back into work and primary care health services are supported in delivering the best of care to local people.”