Returning to general practice during COVID-19

RCGP have produced information and advice for GPs wishing to return to general practice in response to COVID-19, including information about how to return, examples of possible roles and where to access additional support to suit your personal circumstances.

If you're planning to return to general practice in the NHS for longer than the COVID-19 emergency period, you may need to complete the Induction and Refresher Scheme

Words of support from RCGP President

As many of you will know, the RCGP recently established a new online forum, to give members the chance to discuss any questions or concerns they have about COVID-19, and the national response to this pandemic. I’ve taken a lead role in representing the College on the forum, and it has been uplifting to see so many of you discussing your desire to return to general practice to support the response to COVID-19. On behalf of the College, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude.

Read more from Professor Amanda Howe

Guidance for returners

As the UK continues to deal with the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, many doctors and medical staff are being asked to consider returning to the workforce in some capacity, or to take on new or additional responsibilities. Others are proactively seeking to help in whatever way they can. Wherever and however you can help, your expertise and experience are valued beyond measure at this challenging time.

RCGP has produced guidance designed to support current and former UK registered GPs to return to the primary care workforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to help returners identify the types of roles which are right for their own personal skills, abilities and preferences, and to provide a high-level guide on how to return to the workforce, including by directing returners to further relevant guidance from government and other organisations. RCGP have also produced a self assessment template for GP looking to return to the workforce.

Clinical support

Here are 10 highlighted EKU modules for refreshing clinical knowledge. These resources are currently free to all but you will need to register with an account to access.

Thoughts of the LCARM Chair, Dr Mona Aquilina

COVID-19 pandemic. I wish to say thank you for the amazing response from GPs who have retired from clinical work who have volunteered to return. This includes GPs who have left more than three years ago but who wish to use their experience to provide practical and emotional support.

Read more from Dr Aquilina

Hear more from Mona and her vision for Later Career & Retired Members in the latest issue of GP Frontline

Experiences of an NHS returner

Dr Ian Jutting Ian retired from general practice in September 2015 in Kent.

He continued health screening sessions for a further year. Ian was in the second cohort of ‘3-6 years from retirement’ to have his GMC licence restored by email, which included a link to the NHS returner questionnaire. An automated reply advised that he would be called within five days to discuss the associated pathways. No one called.

A colleague suggested applying directly to the NHS Performers List for restoration to the list, which was completed within a few days. The application advised that names would be passed to the COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Service (CCAS) as part of the NHS 111 service. Again, he didn’t hear anything. Meanwhile he found the relevant training materials on HEE’s eLearning for Health (e-LfH) portal, completing most of the modules. While applying for access to the final module late one evening, his request was answered by the Incident Director for the CCAS Response Team.

Very quickly all the missing links to CCAS were provided allowing the formal application to be submitted. It took a further three and a half weeks to complete the ‘onboarding’ process as necessary employment checks had to be completed behind the scenes.

The work is interesting, varied and has some challenges. There is good support, as required, during each session. Support is also available via the COVID-19 forum, together with specific webinars and post-shift debrief meetings. Loan IT equipment is provided by the NHS. Calls arising from all over England are dealt with. Shifts of a 4-hour duration are booked in advance around other commitments and this works well. Around 80% of the calls can be managed by discussion and advice without onward referral. It does seem that we are making a difference, so it is worthwhile. 

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