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Retired doctors won’t have to revalidate to help with coronavirus

Retired doctors who might come back to the workforce to help deal with the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis will not have to revalidate, the GMC has said.

The Government previously said it was considering introducing the ’emergency registration’ of retired doctors, alongside calling upon medical students, as part of its a ‘battle plan’ against Covid-19. 

The announcement stirred concerns among the profession, with leaders warning that older GPs are likely to be among the most ’at risk’ from contracting the virus. 

They also called for clarity about how they would be registered to provide medical services, including training requirement and revalidation. 

In a statement, the GMC confirmed that retired doctors returning to practice ’wouldn’t need to revalidate during their temporary registration’.

It said: ’Temporary registration would ensure these doctors are in a position to work if they wanted to help, and were asked to do so. Some would choose not to for health or personal reasons, and they can opt-out of temporary registration.

’If these powers were activated, further information about returning to practice would be available from the NHS and the UK governments.’

It added: ’We’d automatically grant temporary registration to doctors in this group for the duration of the emergency. They wouldn’t need to pay a fee to re-join the medical register. They wouldn’t need to revalidate during their temporary registration.’

In response to the Government’s plan to potentially draft in medical students to help the NHS in the wake of Covid-19, the GMC said: ’If the secretary of state for health and social care activates our emergency powers, medical students and foundation year one doctors wouldn’t be the first group we’d grant temporary registration to.

’Our focus would be on fully qualified and experienced doctors of good standing, who have recently relinquished their registration or licence to practise.’

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that the clinical negligence scheme for general practice will cover returning retirees if they are engaged by a GP practice to provide NHS services.

Derby and Derbyshire LMC announced today that ’it is likely’ that routine GP appointments will be put on hold ‘whilst surgeries concentrate on urgent care for the most unwell’.

The chief medical officers of all four UK countries said that expectations on routine GP services will be relaxed if the spread of coronavirus becomes a ’significant epidemic’ in the UK.

A Pulse survey revealed that two out of five GPs have still not received any personal protective equipment against coronavirus.

Meanwhile, GPs have been forced to draw up their own emergency plans amid a lack of guidance from NHS England on how to manage patients turning up with respiratory symptoms.