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Returning To Practice As A GP

Published on: 11 Aug 2022

Returning to practice as a GP

The Portfolio Route for the RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners) Return to Practice programme involves submitting evidence you maintained GP skills and stayed up to date with changes in NHS practice throughout your absence.

This guide will walk you through the application process and make you aware of key details to keep in mind when presenting your evidence.


Application Checklist:

The core components of your application are as follows:

  • Your completed and signed RCGP application form.

  • Evidence of full GMC registration with a licence to practice.

  • Supporting evidence (outlined below).

  • A clinician’s statement supporting your evidence and confirming its authenticity. Your documents can be authenticated by a general practitioner colleague. To do this, they will need to sign a statement confirming they have read your application and provided evidence and believe them to be true and accurate. They must also include their full name, contact details, and registration number with their licensing body or regulator. A template for the clinician’s statement will be sent to you by the RCGP.


A rough timeline for the application process is summarised in the table below.


Register with the GP National Recruitment Office (NRO) indicating you wish to opt for the Portfolio Route. 


They will inform the appropriate HEE Return to Practice Lead, who will contact you to undertake a formal interview and career review to check you meet the criteria for the Portfolio Route and seek approval from the NHS England local team; the interview and career review can be done remotely.


Once agreed with NHS England, the NRO will provide you with information on how to apply for the Portfolio Route, as well as notify the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) of your choice.


With NHS England approval and guidance from the NRO, apply online to the RCGP.


Begin collecting evidence for your portfolio.


Download templates for your evidence from the RCGP website.


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


The College will confirm whether you are eligible within five days, inviting you to submit your portfolio when your evidence is ready.


Submit your portfolio via OneDrive or email as a single PDF file.


The College will send you an email to confirm receipt of your evidence.


Your Portfolio of Evidence:

Your supporting evidence needs to show you are keeping up your skills as a general practitioner, including your knowledge of NHS systems and practice. Focus your evidence on the work you have done overseas in the last five years and how it compares with general practice in the UK.

You may provide a variety of supporting evidence, but certain types of documents are essential and must be included for your application to be successful; these should showcase specific aspects of your clinical practice and are outlined in the table below.

Professional Experience

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Clinical Governance Activities

  • A full and current Curriculum Vitae (CV)

  • Letter of Introduction or Personal Statement

  • Summary of your professional experience in the last five years

  • Log of patients seen over at least one month in your current or most recent GP post

  • Case studies

  • Evidence of keeping up to date with general practice in the UK, particularly clinical guidelines, medico-legal matters, and prescribing

  • Evidence of learning and CPD activities including your reflection on them

  • Personal Development Plan (PDP) for the current year

  • Service Development and Quality Improvement

  • Significant Event Analyses

  • Patient complaints

  • (Clinical audits; suggested, but not essential)


Additionally, you may include suggested evidence of Teamwork and Communication, as well as Appraisals and Assessments (see below); this, however, is not mandatory.

Teamwork and Communication

Appraisals and Assessments

  • Case studies of clinical cases involving teamwork

  • Multi-Source Feedback (MSF)

  • Patient Satisfaction (PSQ)

  • Referral letters and responses

  • Appraisal

  • Testimonials and letters of support from patients and colleagues

  • Letter of Good Standing

Great Place, Great Potential - NHS Somerset


General Advice:

  • Add page numbers and create an index page listing each item of evidence. Ensure they are all in the correct order.

  • Should you choose not to include evidence for one of the given areas, such as Appraisals of Assessments, you may add a note about this to your index page.

  • Do not submit more than 200 pages of evidence.

  • Combine your portfolio of evidence into a single PDF file; you can, however, upload and send more files, although this will be more difficult to consider for the RCGP. If you are sending your portfolio via email, make sure your attachments are under 15MB in size.

  • Ensure all your evidence is legible and relevant.

  • Do not hesitate to get in touch with the RCGP if you have any questions at any point.



  1. The Return to Practice Programme: Portfolio Route. Royal College of General 

  2. Practitioners. Available from: 

  3. GP Return to Practice Programme (2021). General Practice National Recruitment Office. Available from: 

  4. Returning to General Practice in the UK. Royal College of General Practitioners. Available from: 

  5. Return to practice: healthcare professionals. Health Education England. Available from: