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Let retired GPs come back as community volunteers

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.