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Scotland Deanery

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Your development

FAQs - GP Returner Programme

    Your supervisor will be an experienced GP Educator who will establish your educational needs and construct an educational contract to address these. This will describe the number of clinical sessions you will be expected to do every week, your programme and timetable for completing assessments and clinical and educational supervision arrangements..

    You will be required to do a specified number of formative assessments during your practice attachment.

    • An assessment of clinical knowledge using the RCGP SelfTest.
    • Regular workplace based assessments which should be recorded in the GP Returner e-portfolio. These assessments include assessments of clinical skills, communication skills & teamwork and are based around observed consultations, case based discussions, 360 degree feedback from patients (Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire) and colleagues (Multisource Feedback MSF) and observations of clinical procedures. 
    • Normally this will be at least one Case Based Discussion (CBD), one Consultations Observation Tool (COT) and one Clinical Exam and Procedural Skills (CEPS) assessment per month (pro-rata if doing the programme part-time over a longer period of time)

    The RCGP PEP should be done early in your attachment to give you time to remedy any identified gaps in your knowledge.

    The work place based assessments should be done regularly throughout your attachment. Your educational supervisor will advise how many assessments are required to enable him/her to make a summative recommendation.

    There is no formal exit exam. Regular feedback should be documented in your e-portfolio. Your educational supervisor will advise what assessments and how many should be completed but normally we would expect a minimum of one CBD, one COT and one CEPS per month as well as a PSQ and MSF (pro rata). The standard expected is that of a GPST3 on completion of training. You should also have a PDP in preparation for early appraisal which will be arranged soon after you start working in independent practice.


    The SelfTest currently costs £30 for 6 months access.

    The workplace based assessments are free of charge. 

    You are responsible for paying for these assessments.  

    Your supervisor will be paid a standard trainers' grant (pro rata).

    No – your supervisor will be paid through the funding made available to us by the Scottish Government to support this programme.


    There is no study leave entitlement however your supervisor will help you establish a PDP and look at how your specific educational needs can be met.

    This employment is for a fixed term of 3-6 months. It is anticipated that by the end of this period you will have received adequate induction in an educationally supportive environment to facilitate your return to independent practice, enabling an experienced clinical supervisor to be in a position to provide a recommendation which will be required by the Medical Director in his/her decision about unconditional inclusion on the Health Board Performers’ List.

    Your supervisor will write a structured report based on your work place based assessments and performance whilst under their supervision. They will provide a recommendation in relation to readiness for independent general practice. This will either recommend inclusion on the Performers’ List unconditionally or recommend that further development is necessary. The areas that need further development will be identified.

    This recommendation will be provided to the Health Board Medical Director who will make a decision about inclusion on the Performers’ List. This decision lies with the Medical Director.

    Once you are on the local performer's list, the healthboard is responsible for your appraisial. It is your responsibility to discuss the timing of your first appraisal with your local appraisal advisor depending on your revalidation date given by the GMC.

    Your programme cannot normally be extended beyond the maximum of six months whole time equivalent (wte). The length of time you will be in the programme will be agreed before you start. If it is agreed that less than six months would be appropriate and the standards for independent practice are not achieved, provided there is sufficient evidence of progress, then this may be extended to a maximum of six months (wte).

    NES is responsible through the Deanery for the delivery of the educational assessment and the provision of the Scotland GP Returner Programme. Applicants who wish to complain or appeal against the outcome of any assessment or recommendation would do so through an appeal process with NES. If you feel that your returner post has not been compliant with the terms of your educational contract, you will be expected to have registered your concerns contemporaneously with documented evidence during the course of your post rather than after receiving your educational supervisor’s assessment. In the absence of valid grounds for appeal, the educational supervisor’s assessment is final

    Admission to the Performers’ List is the decision of the individual Health Board’s Medical Director. A decision to refuse an application or to apply conditions on a registration is taken by the Medical Director. Any appeal regarding the outcome of this decision should be made to the Health Board.

    For the duration of the GP Returner Programme, you will be employed by NES who will provide you with an employment contract. Your appointment is subject to you being registered on the performers list as ‘in training for a fixed period’, being registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) with a licence to practice and included on the GP Register, and having a Certificate of Completion of Training or equivalent.

    This contract is conditional on satisfactory completion of pre-employment checks; which may include Occupational Health, Disclosure/PVG, satisfactory references and immigration (maintaining the right to work in the UK).


    You will be paid the basic salary, equivalent to point 02 of the General Practice Speciality Training Scale (pro rate). An additional supplementary payment may be available if you are willing to do Out of Hours sessions and the local OOH provider is able to accommodate your training needs. 

    The supplement is currently 45% of basic salary. The requirement is that you will do one supervised sessions per fortnight with the OOH service and that you will be willing to contribute to OOH work in the future. Your ES will confirm if you are ready to take this on. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government.

    Whilst employed by NES, the clinical work that you do in your practice attachment will be covered by CNORIS (The Scottish Clinical Negligence and Other Risks Indemnity Scheme) arrangements. It is essential that you also have supplementary medical indemnity to cover situations that may occur whilst not in NES employment as well as providing support and advice around other professional matters.

    Your hours of work in the training practice and regular periods of protected educational time will be agreed with you. Both during and outside normal hours, they will be appropriate to your educational needs and shall be bound by the provisions of the UK Working Time Regulations.

    The normal working week will comprise of 10 sessions which will be broken down as follows: 8 clinical and 2 educational. A degree of flexibility may be required from time to time in order to meet your training needs i.e. increasing either the number of educational or clinical sessions in order to gain specified competencies (having decreased the number of clinical or educational sessions accordingly/respectively). The nominal length of a session is 4 hours.

    You are an integral part of the training practice team but you are supernumerary to the workforce of the training practice. At no point should the effective running of the training practice be dependent on your attendance and you will not be used as a substitute for a locum in the training practice.

    Your normal timetable is to be agreed with your Educational Supervisor.

    There is no requirement for the GP Returner to work in Out of Hours (OOH) but if the GP Returner anticipates applying to do OOH sessions in the future, then this must be discussed at the placement interview with the NES GP AA. Provided the local OOH service can accommodate the request and once the ES is satisfied that the GP Returner is ready to do this, then if the GP Returner is willing to do two sessions in OOH per month, then a pay supplement will be available.

    Yes however there must be well founded reasons (e.g. caring responsibilities as defined within NES LTFT policy documents) that would prevent you from working on a full-time basis.

    Part-time training will fulfil the following requirements:

    A minimum of 50% of normal working week to be worked (including protected educational time each week)

    All arrangements relating to part-time training are subject to approval by the NES Director of Postgraduate GP Education.

    In accordance with delegated responsibility from NES, your Educational Supervisor may agree and you may arrange to undertake any professional activities outside those of the training practice whether remunerated or not.

    Any outside activity should not exceed the Working Time Regulations and will not be unreasonably withheld. Any medical duties or appointments outside the training practice area must not compete with the Educational Supervisor’s practice or impinge on your contracted duties. This applies equally whether such duties are remunerated or not.

    Consent does not imply any responsibility by NES or your Educational Supervisor or the training practice for your acts and omissions in the course of such activities. You are advised to ensure that your membership of a recognised medical defence organisation is commensurate with these activities.

    If you are absent owing to sickness, accident or disablement not arising from or attributable to your own misconduct you may receive payments under the Occupational Sick Pay scheme based on your absence record for the period of 12 months immediately preceding the first day of absence as follows:

     Service at Commencement of Absence

     Full pay

     Half pay


     First year of service

     one month

     two months

     Second year of service

     two months

     two months

     Third year of service

     four months

     four months

     Fourth and fifth years of service

     five months

     five months

     After five years’ service

     six months

     six months

    Any payment under the statutory sick pay scheme will be offset against your entitlement as stated in above.

    You must notify NES and your Educational Supervisor of any absence due to sickness on the first day. A self-certification form should be completed for any sickness absence lasting for fewer than seven days. If the sickness absence lasts longer than seven days you must first notify your Educational Supervisor and also request a self-certification form from your own GP which should be sent to NES at the end of the first week of absence. If the absence continues beyond seven days a medical certificate should be submitted from your own registered GP.

    You should register with a local GP for medical care and normally should not be registered with your training practice.

    This is in line with arrangements in place for all NES employees.

    You are entitled to thirty days paid annual leave per annum for full time employment. Reasonable notice must be given of your intention to take leave. You must discuss the proposed dates with your Educational Supervisor (acting on delegated responsibility from NES) and have them agreed. Leave dates must be agreed before booking holidays. Such agreement will not be unreasonably withheld. If you have exceeded leave entitlement at the date of leaving the practice, for whatever reason, NES will be entitled to deduct a sum equivalent to the salary paid in respect of such excess leave from your final salary payment. Payment may be made in lieu of leave owing at the end of the post.

    Unpaid leave

    Unpaid leave other than for parental, dependent (including adoption) or maternity purposes is normally granted only when you have exhausted your annual leave entitlement. This type of leave is discretionary and permission must be obtained before it is taken. Unpaid leave may be granted only in exceptional circumstances if and when the needs of the training practice allow (acting on delegated responsibility from NES).

    Public holidays

    Subject to the provisions of this paragraph, you are entitled to 10 public holidays or days in lieu per calendar year and any public holidays proclaimed from time to time. When you are required to work on one of these days on a rostered basis you will be entitled to a day off in lieu. [If you work part-time, you will be entitled to public holidays or days in lieu on a pro rata basis according to the number of hours you work compared with full time hours.

    Study leave

    The aim of the Returner programme is to refresh and adapt GP skills. NES believes that practice based sessions are the best way to gain confidence in one's GP skills in the NHS. There are 2 educational sessions allocated per week (pro rata). Consequently study leave out with the sessions dedicated for personal study within the employment contract is normally not granted but may be considered in exceptional circumstances. There are no additional funds to support course fees.

    You are eligible provided an Occupational Health report supports your fitness to return to work without restriction and provides an opinion that this is sustainable. Reasonable adaptations will be accommodated.

    GMC Conditions

    Unfortunately, the GP Returner programmes is unable to provide remediation for GPs who have performance issues identified by the Health Board or the GMC. Applicants must be in good standing with the GMC.

    GPs with GMC conditions or undertakings which can be accommodated through normal supervision arrangements are welcome to apply for the programme. Like everyone else they will require Occupational Health Assessment confirming fitness to return to a normal work pattern either full or part time.


    If you have any questions regarding the Scotland GP Returner Programme, please do not hesitate to contact us at: