Retired GPs have called for a review of return-to-work processes following reports that doctors struggled to rejoin the workforce during the pandemic, BMA News reports.
Dr John Hughes, a retired GP, told an online audience: “There has been a significant contribution of retired members to the Covid response, but there have been a significant number of problems.
“As part of the review of the Covid response, I think it would be useful for the retired members committee and the BMA to consider working with both the Department of Health and the GMC to examine what worked well, what went wrong and very much how we can do things better in the future.”
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of the NASGP, said: “Everyone was very much caught on the backfoot when first responding to Covid-19, trying our best in a rapidly developing situation. Existing workforce problems were thrown into sharp relief, such as the professional isolation and lack of support experienced by so many existing GP locums.
“As well as improving on how we can reintroduce retired GPs, any review must include a much wider look at supporting freelance flexible GPs at all stages of their career, especially those just qualifying as GPs since they naturally lack much of the experience that our senior colleagues already have.”
Dr Hughes’ comments came just days before the publication of a highly critical report into how Covid-19 burnout is accelerating the NHS workforce crisis.
The Health and Social Care Committee’s ‘Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care’ report found that:
- Burnout was raised as a serious problem by a wide range of organisations representing staff, including the RCGP.
- A number of written submissions to the inquiry, including one from the RCGP, set out the specific challenges staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds faced in relation to workplace culture, burnout and resilience. In oral evidence, Dr Chaand Nagpaul CBE, Chair of the BMA Council, said there was a ‘very definite and worrying impact on BAME doctors, who feel particularly unable to speak out and are more likely to be blamed… There is a lot of evidence that they experience worse inequalities in the NHS’.
- It echoed the Health Foundation’s estimate that the NHS in England faces a shortfall of 7,000 FTE GPs in 2023/24 rising to 11,500 FTE GPs by 2028/29.