NHS comms campaign aims to woo female doctors back to general practice

NHS comms chiefs are promoting the perks being offered to woo GPs back to the health service, particularly female doctors who quit to have children.

The Return to General Practice campaign: encourages GPs to return to the NHS
The Return to General Practice campaign: encourages GPs to return to the NHS

The Return to General Practice campaign includes print and social media advertising that promote the financial and practical help available for people who want to return to medicine.

It launched at the end of February and, following targeted digital advertising on Doctors.net and Facebook, is now being promoted on social media with the hashtag #GPreturner.

The first phase of the campaign will run until July, and will be repeated in the run-up to Christmas as people start to think about their plans for the New Year.

Having a dedicated account manager to help complete forms and paperwork, a bursary of up to £3,500 a month and help towards indemnity costs and other fees, worth more than £1,700, are among the perks on offer.

The focus on persuading doctors to come back to work is part of a wider attempt to recruit an extra 5000 GPs back into general practice in England by 2020.

A NHS England spokesperson told PRWeek: "NHS England and Health Education England, in partnership with Royal College of General Practitioners and British Medical Association, are embarking on a range of marketing and communication activities to raise awareness of the refresher element of the scheme and the improvements made to encourage more qualified GPs to come back to general practice after a break of two or more years.

"Essentially these improvements include more financial and practical support for GPs returning to practice and some changes in the way the scheme is organised to help make the process simpler and quicker."

A set of visuals and key messages that ensure a consistent look and feel across communications are being used across traditional, social and digital media, including the www.gpreturner.nhs.uk website, which hosts case studies and a short animation to promote the scheme.

The NHS England spokesperson commented: "This is a joint programme between HEE and NHS England under the NHS brand, and the campaign was developed in-house with external support for key elements. Better Brand developed the visuals and ads. Carat are supporting us with social media."

The campaign is currently on hold until purdah restrictions are lifted following the General Election on 8 June.

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