Government fails to detail how retired doctors plan will work for coronavirus

Posted: March 11th 2020


We know intimately about the challenges of delivering GP services in rural settings, this interesting article suggests tempting people who have left such places to return in the short term is likely to be a complicated and challenging process. It tells us:

The government is under pressure to spell out how it will use retired doctors to help tackle the coronavirus after ministers failed to provide any detail about how the scheme would work.

Questions are being asked about the widely reported NHS initiative, which was included in the government’s coronavirus action plan that Boris Johnson launched last week.

But the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) did not flesh out any of the detail about how it would resolve the complexities of launching the scheme when quizzed by an ex-health minister.

The Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter last week tabled a parliamentary question to Matt Hancock, the health secretary, asking “what steps the government is taking to ensure that retired medical staff will be (a) re-registered and (b) re-certified to practise in the event that they are required to work as a result of Covid-19”.

But in a reply published on Monday, the DHSC said only that it “has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.”

Poulter, who also works part-time as an NHS psychiatrist, said the lack of detail was concerning, especially as the idea could help the health service cope with a huge rise in the number of very sick patients.