The Spark Programme

Dear soon-to-be-qualified GPs,

We would like to introduce you to the Gloucestershire Primary Care Training Hub, and what we can do for you when you qualify, as well as set out the GP fellowship program available to newly qualified GPs, such as yourselves!

What is a training hub?

Primary care training hubs (PCTHs) cover England, usually aligned to the ICS (Integrated Care System) in that area. As the name suggests the Gloucestershire PCTH covers the Gloucestershire ICS. Our aim is to bring together education and training resources, help signpost, support workforce priorities and help tackle health inequalities. We support all staff in primary care, clinical and non-clinical. We appreciate leaving the relative security of the VTS can seem scary, but please do know that the training hub is here for you should you need help. Even if we can’t directly help you we can usually find someone who can, through our links across the system. If you are not staying in Gloucestershire please do make contact with the local training hub in the area you are moving to.

What is the GP Fellowship scheme?

In 2020 NHS England (NHSE) set up the GP fellowship scheme, which was initially referred to as the ‘new to practice program’. The aim of the scheme was, and is, to support newly qualified GPs, in substantive posts (i.e. salaried or partner) in their first 2 years post-CCT. It is recognised that leaving the support of the VTS and your trainer can be hard, but also exciting, and brings with it lots of new opportunities. The scheme is there to support this transition period and help provide career development. Locally the scheme is called ‘Spark’.

What can Spark offer me?

Spark is a program which has been locally tailored taking into account the needs of our newly qualified GPs and the wider system. Through Spark we offer a 2 year program including:

  • Educational events are mainly on non-clinical topics to support you in the next steps from the training hub. Previously this has included sessions on change management, well-being, strength finders (with the amazing Hannah Miller), PCNs, portfolio working, medical education, imposter syndrome, population health management and much more!
  • Being part of Spark also grants you access to more events through the regional Primary Care Academy, run through the School of Primary Care
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring from locally trained and experienced GPs
  • Peer support sessions
  • The opportunity to do a funded CPD project. Yes, that is right we will pay you to do a project of your choosing! This is to further support portfolio working, and career development and an amazing chance to expand your horizons

Details of the current rate of pay are below. Please note this may be subject to change should NHSE guidance change ahead of the cohort start date.

  • Only available to those in substantive posts, as per NHSE guidance. (*Locum GPs only please see notes below)
  • Payment of £10000 per session (one session= 4hrs 10mins), with 30% on costs paid on top, bringing the total payment to £13000 per session (**For those who are LTFT and/or have other commitments that might make 1 extra session difficult, please see below)
  • Payment is via a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to your practice
  • You will be asked to provide a brief monthly submission of how your hours have been used that month, ensuring that all funded time is accounted for at the end of 12 months. We will endeavour to make this light touch.

*Locum GPs only: The NHSE GP fellowship scheme, of which the Spark scheme is our version, only allows for those in substantive posts. Previously we have allowed locums to access some elements of our program, and hope to continue to do so in a limited way, as we recognise the importance of this support for locums. For those who have already applied and are locums, you will remain as part of the original funding scheme, and for this reason, the CPD project is not available. From 2022 the Spark scheme will be closed to GPs working solely as a locum, to adhere to NHSE guidance.

**For those that work fewer sessions and/or have other commitments or personal circumstances that make doing a whole extra session difficult, we are happy to discuss flexible options including doing less than one whole session per week. Please just get in touch and let us know how much time you can manage (please note no personal details or information is required to explain your decision), and we will pay you accordingly.

What next?!

From 2022 we are moving to a 2 cohort entry per year, to ensure we are picking up qualifying GPs as soon as we can. Each of the cohorts will cover roughly:

  • March/April start date- GPs qualifying between December of the previous year and May of the current year
  • September start date- for GPs qualifying between June of the current year and November of the current year
  • If you fall on the edges of these periods and would like to discuss which cohort would suit you best please get in touch
  • Likewise, if you have only just heard about the scheme and you are within 12 months of qualifying please get in touch (the time post CCT can be extended to 18 months for those who have had sick leave, parental leave or other extenuating circumstances. Please get in touch for a confidential discussion if any of these apply to you)

Each cohort will be offered an introductory session with the Spark team, coaching, mentoring, peer support, access to the Primary Care Academy sessions and the opportunity to get going with a CPD project (full details of how to apply for the CPD project will be sent out to those enrolled in Spark). The educational events run by the training hub will start in September each year for both cohorts, so there is an opportunity to network more widely.

What if I move to Gloucestershire once I qualify?

If you are coming to Gloucestershire to work that is great and please just get in touch, you are welcome to join the Spark scheme anytime up to 12 months post-CCT. Please note that you can only be signed up to one scheme at any time.

What if I move away from Gloucestershire once I qualify?

Again not a problem, we are very happy to support finding the organisers in touch with the local GP fellowship scheme and connect you. However, if there are any doubts and we can support you to stay in Gloucestershire, please don’t hesitate to speak with the training hub for guidance and advice.

This sounds great, how do I apply?!

Our Spark Application Form is currently undergoing a redesign, to receive an email once the updated form has gone live, please email

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of the Spark team if you have questions or would like any further information at Dr Laura Halden, the Clinical Chair of the training hub, is very happy to have a 1:1 call about Spark. Any emails sent to the addresses above will be forwarded to Laura as needed. A Spark Handbook has also been developed, containing information around all aspects of the Spark Programme, to access the Handbook please click here.

Many thanks and best wishes

The Spark Team

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