Retired medics facing month-long wait to rejoin front line because of NHS red tape

Retired doctors who have signed up to rejoin the health service have had their return to the frontline delayed by NHS red tape, the Telegraph can reveal. 

Thousands of GPs were asked to come out of retirement to help with the coronavirus pandemic, but more than a month on many have still not started work. 

In a letter to retired medics seen by The Daily Telegraph, the Royal College of General Practitioners admitted that “the sheer numbers of you wanting to get involved have overwhelmed current systems and processes”. 

Dr Monica Aquilina, a GP for more than 30 years and Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Later Career and Retired Members (LCARM) Group, submitted her application at the beginning of last month.

She said she has still not received the IT log-in details she needs to return and knew of a number of retired doctors in her position. 

It is understood that part of the delay is down to the time it takes for doctors being re-registered with the General Medical Council and then eventually appearing back on the NHS England list so they can start work.   

Dr Pamela Martin, also waiting to return to work after submitting her application at the start of April, is one of a number of retired doctors this newspaper has spoken to in the same position.

She said she knew of numerous doctors who had encountered administrative and clerical issues when submitting information for identity checks.

“This is a piece of the pandmeic plan that wasn’t given sufficient thought; they hadn’t worked out how to get us back to work,” she said. 

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer for the NHS, said nearly 7,500 former NHS clinicians and other staff had returned to the NHS front line and a further 4,300 have completed the appropriate professional checks before restarting treating patients. 

Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA GP Committee, said he understood former GPs were frustrated with delays and said NHS England must ensure “the process is as streamlined as possible so that these doctors can get back to work quickly”. 

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