TRAINEE doctors will be given a £20,000 “golden hello” if they take up a GP position in regions with severe recruitment problems.
The medics will be given the lump sum on their first day in the job if they commit to staying in the role for a minimum of three years.
Those that leave early will have to pay some of it back.
Jeremy Hunt hopes the move will tackle a recruitment and retention crisis in the profession, which has led to patients waiting up to three weeks for an appointment.
Almost half of surgeries nationwide are currently trying to recruit at least one GP.
The health secretary will unveil the plans today at the Royal College of GPs annual conference in Liverpool.
The Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme will come into effect from next year.
GPs thinking of retiring will also be offered more flexible working, including jobs as mentors or managers, in a bid to stop them quitting.
And the Department of Health will set up an International Recruitment Office, which will work to attract qualified GPs to England from outside the EU.
Mr Hunt is expected to say: “The profession is under considerable pressure at the moment.
“By introducing targeted support for vulnerable areas and tackling head on critical issues, such as the recruitment and retention of more doctors, we can strengthen and secure general practice for the future.
“Our talented GP workforce is one of the reasons why we have the best healthcare system in the world, and our commitment of an additional £2.4billion a year for primary care by 2021, will ensure this continues.”
The NHS often struggles to recruit trainee GPs because they are often the butt of jokes in medical schools and many junior doctors see working in a hospital as “sexier”.