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Independents' Day

Retired GPs who return to tackle coronavirus will get free indemnity

The Government is to fund indemnity cover for retired doctors who come back to work to boost NHS capacity during the coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic.

The MDDUS said it will also provide indemnity support which falls outside of the state-backed scheme to retired members for free, covering regulatory tribunals, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

The coronavirus indemnity support service will initially be available until August but will stay in place ‘as long as it is needed’, the MDDUS said.

The MDDUS has 'radically simplified and shortered' its rejoining process for its 7,000 retired members and added it was ‘exploring’ a similar free support service for its student members, if they are drafted in to help.

The Government first announced last week that it is considering introducing the ‘emergency registration’ of retired doctors as part of its action plan against the virus.

And a minister later said this could also include calling upon medical students.

Dr John Holden, head of medical division at MDDUS, said the organisation wanted to ‘immediately remove all barriers’ to retired members who wish to help tackle the virus.

He said: ‘The NHS is facing its biggest challenge this century and we are determined to play our part in encouraging and enabling health care professionals to manage the threat posed by Covid-19.

‘Medical defence organisations provide their membership with discretionary indemnity.

'I cannot think of a better way to exercise this discretion than by immediately removing all barriers to retired, and if necessary student, doctors joining the national effort to manage this escalating challenge facing the country.’

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that the clinical negligence scheme for general practice will cover returning retirees if they are engaged by a GP practice to provide NHS services.

It comes as the Government yesterday dedicated an initial £5bn to help the NHS get through the coronavirus outbreak as part of its new Budget.

As of 11 March, 27,476 people have been tested in the UK, of which 27,020 were confirmed negative and 456 were confirmed as positive. Six patients who tested positive for Covid-19 have died.

Note: This story was updated at 15.15 on 12 March to include the DHSC's confirmation.

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Readers' comments (8)

  • I rang mdu this morning about this ( still paying them run off early retirement cover) and they asked how many sessions I would be working so they could calculate what it would cost me ! I decided not to bother taking the call any further !

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  • But will they pay the full pension (instead of the standard half-pension) to the spouse of anyone who returns and dies?

    Do not return without this guarantee.

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  • Suspending the activities of the CQC and the Appraisals system would free up all those clinicians currently employed in the system. GP academics similarly could be redeployed to clinical work.
    Retirees will be elderly and consequently at significantly raised risk of dying if infected.

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  • Bizarre. Until they fundamentally address the issue of lawers vs. doctors and profit vs. altruism this battle and perverse control, defensiveness and waste will continue. An endemic disease that no one wants to talk about that commands everything about healthcare wastage and practice. Complaints related to an organism which has no cure and symptoms which are non-specific should be binned to eternity to those that put their lives at risk on the front line. You cannot make this up if you tried.

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  • what is pay rate per session?

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  • And risk dying with pensions confiscated? Hmmm.

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  • I don't mean to be rude/ unfair and I am sure some of the recently retired doctors are excellent. But everyone will assume they are deficient/ not up to date when something goes wrong. Some will also indeed by out of date.

    Stuff goes wrong all the time. All of us know that. And when something goes wrong, patients (understandably), lawyers and now the courts and GMC cannot be trusted to decide if it is reckless incompetence in keeping with manslaughter or understandable systemwide error.

    I don't know why anyone would return to help with that particular Sword of Damocles hanging over their head. As we all know nobody will help by reenforcing that horses hair to protect you.

    Then of course there is the much sharper sword which involves just dying of Coronavirus.

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  • ObiOne | GP Partner/Principal12 Mar 2020 10:34pm

    - Well ObiOne, if you haven't read, a certain Dr Kailash Chand would be happy to return... He mentioned emergency GMC registration, as if that mattered, and state indemnity. Nothing about pensions/dying on the job, etc. There's altruism, and then there's... foolishness?

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