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Doctors who have been retired for up to six years have been temporarily re-registered to tackle coronavirus, after the government increased the cut-off by three years.
As the Covid-19 crisis ramped up in March it was announced that former medics who had left the service up to three years ago would be asked to rejoin the NHS as part of the “Your NHS Needs You” drive.
But on April 2 it was quietly announced that the temporary re-registration by the General Medical Council (GMC), who were instructed by the government, would now also be automatically given to doctors who had left the front lines as far back as 2014.
“Are they getting a bit desperate for help? Are they running out of doctors?” asked one retired medic, who left a 32-year career with the NHS six years ago and received an email informing them they had been re-registered on April 2.
They added: “A friend of mine who is a retired doctor got an email on March 30 telling her she had been re-registered, and she almost thought it was funny, that they’d got her retirement wrong.
“But then her husband, who is also a former GP, got the same email, and a couple of days later I did too.
“It was surprising at first, and then a bit worrying – although I still read the British Medical Journal and so on I’m sure I’m quite out of date with a lot of treatments. Things will have changed quite a lot in six years, and when it comes to looking after Covid-19 patients many of us probably wouldn’t have a clue.”
The move comes as part of an effort to extend temporary registration or re-licensing for 18,800 UK-based doctors. Doctors who have been retired for three to six years will make up 6,800 of this number, while 12,000 will be doctors with a UK address who are GMC registered but do not currently hold a licence to practise.
The former doctors have been automatically re-registered, but are able to...