Health bosses in Wigan are introducing an “innovative” role that will see GPs work in various healthcare services around the borough.
Named i-GPs, the doctors will work in practices across Wigan and Leigh and treat patients in the same way as salaried GPs.
But they will then be able to work as many extra hours as they choose in other healthcare services around the borough.
This could be as part of the out-of-hours service, at the walk-in centre at Leigh Infirmary, in the extended hours service, in intermediate care or in prison health services.
Another option will be at the new primary care centre being opened at Christopher Home, at Wigan Infirmary, where some A&E patients will be treated instead.
The i-GPs will be employed on permanent contracts, with annual leave entitlement.
They must work a number of “core sessions” in general practice and can choose which extra sessions they do.
A prospectus about the new scheme says bosses want to “support GPs that often feel stressed and burnt out in their current roles in primary care”.
The new role is designed to “create an opportunity for GPs to work in areas that interest them and allow them to shape their own jobs to suit their personal needs”.
Dr Tim Dalton, chairman of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “The new i-GP role creates integrated community GPs who will spend most of their time working in a local practice, but will also have the opportunity to work in other health settings that rely on GP support to deliver patient care.
“The GP is at the heart of all our NHS services and GP practices will be even more important as we move more services in to local communities.
"However, we have a shortage of GPs locally and nationally and we have all experienced times when we have been treated by a locum doctors. Locum doctors are a fantastic resource, but they don’t bring stability to our services, they can reduce the continuity of care patients receive and they can be quite expensive.
“With this innovative role, we are working to create a flexible GP career in Wigan that is more appealing and attracts new GPs in to the area.
"The i-GPs will work in one practice for at least half of their time meaning that they can offer the continuity of care that patients value. They will also help us to put GPs in to other important services that deliver unplanned care for when patients are unwell, including our extended hours service, which is open on evenings and weekends and our out-of-hours service.”