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Government tables emergency legislation amid coronavirus crisis

MPs parliament

The Government has today introduced the Emergency Coronavirus Bill to make it easier to bring retired doctors back into the workforce in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The new measures astate that NHS staff will be able to return to work ‘without any negative repercussions to their pensions’.

The GMC will grant retired doctors temporary registration and under the emergency plan, the rules limiting returning staff to working 16 hours per week, will be relaxed.

In addition, all staff, either returning or working outside their day-to-day duties, will be covered by state-backed indemnity insurance as outlined in the new bill.

The emergency measures will be in place for as long as required to deal with the significant extra pressure on the health system.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘The new measures we will be introducing in the Emergency Coronavirus Bill this week will only be used when it is absolutely necessary and must be timed to maximise their effectiveness, but crucially they give the government the powers it needs to protect lives.’

The bill also stated that administrative requirements to discharge patients from hospitals would be reduced.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty added: ‘The measures included in this bill will help support our frontline workers, protect the public and delay the peak of the virus to the summer months when the NHS is typically under less pressure.’