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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.