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Olympic GP volunteers ‘in limbo’

Exclusive: GPs who applied as medical volunteers at the Olympic Games have been left in limbo and are still unsure whether they have been selected for a ‘Games Maker' role.

With just over four months until the Games get underway, doctors have complained on online forums that they will now struggle to find cover for their own practices if they are selected as volunteers, and that they cannot book holidays or other time off until they have heard.

‘Games Maker' volunteers are required to commit to a minimum of 10 days volunteering throughout the Games.

Around 1,000 doctors have so far been offered positions as part of the Games' medical team, although many of these are roles which do not require a medical qualification, such as first aid cover. London 2012 was not able to say how many doctors had volunteered in total, although some 86 GP positions in the Games' three polyclinics have now been filled.

Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, a GP in north London who has only just been accepted as a volunteer, said she knew many other GPs who had applied but none who had received offers.

‘They should have set a deadline by which they were going to tell people whether they'd been selected,' she said.

‘What I would have expected, given that we're in the middle of March, and the Games start at the end of July, is arrangements for the simulation training for bombs or mass disasters by now.

‘Those are the sort of things where people need to be trained in a team, and I was told at my interview that that was what we would receive, but for doctors with on-call and family commitments it's going to be very difficult to arrange these sort of things in such a short time.'

A spokesman for London 2012 said: ‘Offers for Games Maker positions are continuing to be sent out and it is hoped that all roles will be filled by April.'