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NHS Emeritus pilot scheme: Retired doctors to help bring down waits for elective care


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Retired consultants being encouraged to return to the health service to help secondary care providers who need additional help with their waiting lists

NHS England has launched a cloud-based platform that links recently-retired consultants, who still hold a licence to practice, with secondary care providers who need additional help with their waiting lists.

It has been developed to make it easier and more flexible for retired doctors to return to the health service as part of the Long Term Workforce Plan.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard in June 2023 announced the NHS Emeritus pilot scheme, which is expected to help reduce long waits for elective care.

Initially, the scheme will run for a year across England, and if successful, it may be expanded to cover other work areas.

Health Minister Andrew Stephenson commented: “Returning consultants will bring invaluable experience and knowledge, and the new digital platform will match highly-skilled consultants with the NHS trusts that require their expertise, providing high quality care and alleviating pressures on high demand areas.

“This will help us cut waiting lists – one of the government’s five priorities.”

The full registration process is expected to be completed next month, after which emeritus consultants would be able to start carrying out appointments, including pre-employment checks and face-to-face interviews with NHS professionals.

Using the new platform, secondary care providers can upload the activity they would like supported, and the retired doctors can then express their interest in undertaking the specific work listed.

The appointments would be scheduled and arranged with patients in the normal way and can be carried out in-person or remotely.

Stella Vig, NHS national clinical director for elective care, said that the initiative is aimed at providing an opportunity for retired consultants to continue to work in the health service in a more flexible way.

“The NHS can still benefit from their skills and knowledge, whether that be through providing training and education, or continuing to see patients and help add much-needed capacity as we work toward our aims of bringing down the longest waits for elective care,” she added.

According to NHS workforce data, about 1,000 consultants leave the heath service for retirement each year.





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