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Let retired GPs come back as community volunteers

Dr Edward Lavin writes

From Dr Edward Lavin, Bristol

I was happy to come across Pulse’s ‘Five steps to returning to general practice’ article because I’ve created a scheme whereby retired GPs, like myself, would be invited back as community volunteers with one of three grades of registration (primary with full GMC rigour, secondary and tertiary grades with appropriate limits on their working time, right to prescribe and clinical procedures). But your piece merely describes a route back to full registration, with more of what probably caused most GPs to retire in the first place.

Obviously my scheme stands or falls by GMC approval of staged registration levels, and I have had reasonably polite but unproductive exchanges with them on this subject.

This has meant that I’ve moved to the political sphere, writing to Jeremy Hunt with a detailed explanation of how the pool of retired GPs could rapidly populate hospital A&E departments and GP surgeries with qualified, experienced, enthusiastic, community volunteer doctors.

GPs who retire don’t immediately forget their training and on-the-job experience. By offering them a path back to limited exposure practice they can, by multiples of small amounts, take a considerable burden off the full-time doctors currently struggling with ever-worsening conditions.

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Readers' comments (21)

  • Bob Hodges

    Great idea.

    I'd love to badger a few recently retired back into some clinical work - I miss having them about.

    Might be worth actually taking tea breaks for a chat!!

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  • I admire your spirit of community servivce, but do we really want to encourage a system where a failing primary care service is shored up by volunteers? What we need is proper funding. THis just plays into the governments hands and the expectation that all of us should just volunteer to work for b****r all.

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  • Good idea - I hope that Pulse keeps us up to date with the results of Dr Lavin's negotiations.

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  • This is a crazy notion. How about such small matters as insurance and keeping up to date with drugs etc.
    By all means use them as call takers etc but the buck stops with the doctor therefore the doctor must be up to date and heavily insured !!!

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  • when NHS itself is instrumental through GMC MPTS accommodating to NHS requests to deplete qualified GPs in practice,it is treason by NHs in collaboration with GMC MPTS against our country's health

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  • Who pays for the insurance and CPD ?

    Who carries the can when retired volunteer makes a mistake?

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  • if retired gp's are just allowed to surgery (clinic) and nothing else , i am sure lot of gp's will return. audits ,,appraisal cqc ,qof , ptotocols ,mps/mdu fee are biggest hinderance.
    i missed seeing patients and came back to work afte 4 weeks of retirement.

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  • Sorry by volunteering, do you mean not paid??? Seriously?? for all the reasons already mentioned, and also, can you not think of anything better to do when retired???

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  • so now nhse wants people to work even more hours for free, how about getting mps to work for free?

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  • After 20 to 30 or more years working as a GP and being paid why would a retired GP want to come back (bad enough) and work for free?

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