The Induction and Refresher Scheme Portfolio route

Welcome to the Portfolio route, a pathway to the Induction and Refresher Scheme. We are delighted that you are considering returning to practice in England, and we want to make this transition as easy as possible.

The Portfolio route is designed for doctors: 

  • who have previously worked independently and unsupervised as a general practitioner in the UK and
  • have had a break of up to five years from NHS general practice, while working as a general practitioner overseas, and now want to return to work in England

If you want to return to NHS general practice in England, and have not worked as a GP in the NHS in the past five years, you are likely to need a short period of refresher training.

Refresher training is offered by the Induction and Refresher Scheme. This scheme is managed by Health Education England and the GP National Recruitment Office (NRO). You will not have to pay for your refresher period. First, you must register with the GP National Recruitment Office (NRO) .

There are two ways of applying to the Induction and Refresher Scheme:

  • The standard route involves an initial assessment of multiple choice questions to determine your level of entry to the scheme
  • The Portfolio route involves preparing a portfolio of documents to demonstrate that you have maintained your GP skills while working as a general practitioner overseas and how you have kept up to date with changes in NHS practice.

The NRO  will tell you whether you are eligible for these routes and if NHS England agrees that you can take the Portfolio route, the NRO will tell you how to apply and submit your portfolio. They will also tell us you have chosen this route.

Eligibility for the Portfolio route

To be eligible for Portfolio route application to the Induction and Refresher Scheme, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Hold JCPTGP certificate, CCT, CEGPR or GP qualification awarded in the EEA allowing direct entry to the GMC GP Register
  • Hold GMC full registration with a licence to practise or have made an application to the GMC to restore your licence to practise
  • Included on the GMC GP Register
  • Have at least two years experience working unsupervised as a general practitioner in the NHS while on the Medical Performers List or its predecessors with a minimum of two appraisals
  • Have had a break of not more than five years from NHS general practice at the time of applying
  • Any significant career breaks from clinical practice in the five year period do not exceed two years in total and none taken in the two years immediately preceding application

The evidence which you collect for your portfolio can be useful for your revalidation appraisal in the future.

Application fee

The fee for the Portfolio route is £950 to be paid online to the Royal College of General Practitioners. You can reclaim this fee from NHS England for one application after you have satisfactorily completed your Induction and Refresher Scheme placement and entered the Medical Performers List. Your claim for reimbursement should be made to the NRO.

Steps to making an application via the Portfolio route 

Complete the first stage of registration for the Induction and Refresher Scheme which includes an interview with the Health Education England (HEE) Induction and Refresher Lead for your chosen area of England. Your interview and career review can be done remotely

NHS England is asked to approve your application to the Induction and Refresher Scheme via the Portfolio route

With NHS England approval and guidance from the NRO, apply online to the Royal College of General Practitioners

Begin collecting evidence for your portfolio

Your application form is checked by the College to make sure that you meet the criteria to apply

The College sends an email within five days to confirm that you are eligible and invites you to pay the application fee online when your portfolio is ready

Pay the application fee online and upload your portfolio. You must upload your portfolio within four weeks of making your payment

The College sends you an email to confirm that your portfolio of evidence has arrived

The College evaluates your portfolio and makes a recommendation to your HEE Induction and Refresher Lead. The recommendation is in the form of a short report. This takes six weeks from the date the College receives your complete portfolio

The  HEE Induction and Refresher Lead reviews the College recommendation with the Medical Director of the local NHS England Team. They agree the final outcome and action

If your application has been successful, your case is reviewed by the Medical Director or Responsible Officer of the Regional Team for entry to the Induction and Refresher Scheme, induction modules and a placement of up to four weeks in general practice

If your application has been unsuccessful, the  HEE Induction and Refresher Lead will write to you, explaining the reasons and enclosing feedback from the College. You may be advised to consider applying through the standard route

You can apply to the College with new evidence and request a review of your application within six months of the date of your decision letter. The fee for this is £450 (non refundable)

How the portfolio of evidence is evaluated

Your portfolio should document the work you have been doing since you last worked in NHS general practice.

The evaluators will look for evidence which shows your personal involvement in an activity, your reflection on it and details of any subsequent change to your practice as a result of the activity. An example would be a report of a significant event and documentation of change in your practice processes which followed.

The evaluation will consider the GMC’s four domains of Good Medical Practice and how far this standard has been maintained by you while working in general practice overseas.

The evaluators will also consider whether you have kept up to date with changes in primary care in England and NHS systems and processes that affect general practice. Online learning modules about general practice organisation and medico-legal frameworks in the UK can provide useful evidence.

The portfolio is sent to a panel of three evaluators, senior members of the College experienced in making portfolio-based assessments. It takes six weeks to complete the evaluation and provide a report to the LETB Induction and Refresher Lead.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Portfolio route, contact our GP Specialist Applications team, telephone 020 3188 7656 and email


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