Returning to General Practice in the UK

If you are returning to general practice in response to COVID-19, you can find information and guidance about returning to practice on our dedicated COVID-19 page.

Welcome to our GP Returners page. We’re delighted that you’ve decided to return to general practice and we wish you every success in this next stage of your career as a family doctor.

If you’ve taken a break and not worked as a general practitioner in the NHS for two years or more, you will need to complete a period of refresher training before re-joining the relevant Performers List and applying for jobs in general practice.

You may be returning after a career break, raising a family or period of working overseas. You won’t have to pay for refresher training.

The returner process varies a little across the four nations of the UK. Wherever you plan to return to work, we can direct you to the information you need.

All applicants to returner programmes must be on the GP Register. If you need advice on this, please write to our GP Specialist Applications team at

Restore your GMC registration

Free Associate Membership of the RCGP

Returners are eligible for one year’s free associate membership of the College, including free access to learning events, the online learning platform and discounts on books and courses. You will receive an invitation to become an Associate member once your place on the Return to Practice Programme is confirmed. 

England and Wales

The Return to Practice Programme (RtP) is designed for established GPs who were previously on the National Medical Performers List (NMPL) as an independent practitioner and would like to return. The programme involves assessments and refresher training, including a supervised placement in an approved training practice for up to six months, and is run by Health Education England and the GP National Recruitment Office.

Applying to the Return to Practice Programme (RtP)

Your first step is to register for the Return to Practice Programme with the GP National Recruitment Office

You can apply to the Return to Practice Programme in one of two ways:

  • The Learning Needs Assessment route involves an initial assessment of multiple choice questions to determine your level of entry to the programme
  • For GP colleagues who have been working overseas or outside the NHS, the Portfolio route involves preparing a portfolio of documents to demonstrate that you have maintained your knowledge and skills while working in family practice overseas

Contact your local Health Education England dedicated RtP lead for advice

Return to practice in Wales

Visit the GP National Recruitment Office website for more information about the programme and the financial support available for returners.


If you are returning to general practice in Scotland, you will need to complete the Scotland GP Returner Programme

There is no entry test for the programme. However, you will have a discussion with your Advisor and an educational needs assessment to confirm eligibility and the length of your placement. To start the process, you should register an expression of interest by completing the form on the Scotland Deanery website.

Northern Ireland

You will need to apply to the Performers List (NIPMPL) at the start of the process and then register with NIMDTA who runs the GP Induction and Refresher Scheme. If you are eligible for the scheme, and once you have conditional inclusion on the Performers List, you can begin your placement.

Full details of the process and guidance documents are on the NIMDTA website

In Northern Ireland, the Portfolio Route is also an option.

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