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GPs go forth

LMC chief becomes first retired GP on coronavirus frontline

Wessex LMCs chief executive Dr Nigel Watson has become the 'first-ever' retired GP to rejoin the performers list to help tackle the coronavirus crisis.

Announcing the news via Twitter, Dr Watson urged fellow retired GPs to do the same.

Last week the NHS formally launched their ‘NHS needs you’ campaign in an effort to boost the number of medical staff available to manage the outbreak of coronavirus across the country.

The campaign urges more than 5,000 retired GPs to return to work and Dr Watson said he will be the first retired GP to do so.

Under emergency legislation, health secretary Matt Hancock has powers to ask the GMC to automatically grant temporary registration to doctors who are not currently in practice.

Dr Watson said in a tweet earlier today: ‘As a GP I recently stopped clinical practice I came off the performer's list. I wanted to make myself available if needed. I have applied and become the first-ever GP to be registered as an Emergency Registered Practitioner. I would encourage recently retired GPs to do the same.'

Dr Watson worked in his Hampshire practice for three decades and remains chief executive of Wessex LMCs - the largest group of LMCs in the country, representing over 3,000 GPs.

He was also chair of the Government's independent review on the future of GP partnerships in 2018 and was recently recognised in the Pulse top 50.

GPs who left the profession within the last three years are currently being contacted by the GMC in order to re-register. Temporary registration would be automatic, and doctors will be covered by state-backed insurance.

This comes as the number of recorded cases of Covid-19 reached 5,683 over the weekend, with 281 deaths in the UK.


Readers' comments (8)

  • Where's Optimus?

    Alot of us still do not have the adequate ppe if any ... and yet they want med students and volunteers to come and risk their and indirectly their families lives.. all on a voluntary basis... its like asking soldiers to go to war without a gun or ammunition ...
    Massacre at Normandy ???

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  • Where's Optimus?

    If you pay they will come ... I understand the private hospital beds have not been provided for free... or at least have not been taken back by emergency legislation..
    Why is it that when it comes to the NHS
    there is a reliance on goodwill and martyrs

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  • I don't think PPE is going to be of much benefit. The UK is not employing a containment strategy. There are now probably hundreds of thousands in the UK with the virus and with it lingering on surfaces for up to 72 hours and being infective 5 days before symptoms occur it seems inevitable that 60-80% of total population will become infected. I would suggest that health care workers will almost become universally infected.
    So, retired comrades, you need to make a decision about whether your get it from seeing patients trying to help OR from the shopping trolley in Waitrose. *(This is not belittling the choice, but rather dismissing the idea that you can hide successfully from this).
    Regardless of what the government now say, this is a herd immunity approach. The flattening of the curve only helps us form an orderly queue for the ICU beds.
    I would argue that the PPE is to again try to stretch out as many healthcare professionals before we all eventually fall over.
    But only 95% of us will be able to get back up.

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  • Knowledge is Porridge

    I absolutely fear the spread of this virus. Especially for all frontline staff. But my patients are taking this very seriously and self isolating in large numbers and amazing community organising and staff flexibility.
    I think the tide could be turning already (reflected in numbers in 2 weeks time).
    We have a few weeks to ignore all the usual crap and just focus on what we trained for. This is a chance for retired GPs to work for the common good, and I welcome / salute all those who bravely put their hands up. Their assistance - perhaps remotely by phone / video, could be amazing. Thank you all.
    Perhaps some might stick around if government takes another look at why they all left in the first place?

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  • Well done Nigel.

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  • Good to see, many staff in managerial / leadership roles could contribute more. Now, and going forward... but those retired, it is definitely worth our appreciation.

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  • Actually the Emergency Powers have not yet activated, so no GPs have been yet put on the Temporary Register. It will be not before Thursday, I am told. (I've been in contact with the GMC on several occasions over the last fortnight)

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  • As a GP principal I want to know if NHSE are going to relax their locum payment policy to allow us to employ these retired GPs whilst our usual GPs self isolate for 2 weeks? Currently that is a 'No' - the cost falls 100% on the practice

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