Letter to GPs on the register and on the performers list



Publication approval reference: ​C0017

23 March 2020

Dear Doctor

We want to extend our heartfelt thanks for the work you are doing day to day to support your patients in these unprecedented times. Your adaptiveness, resilience and compassion are astonishing. We know that many of you are already working every hour you are awake; we also know that everyone will be juggling different circumstances, including caring responsibilities and other commitments.

As you may know, the GMC has recently written to all doctors who came off the register within the last three years to ask for support during COVID-19. We are writing to you as our records show that you are registered on both the GMC Register and England Medical Performers List, to ask whether there is any additional support you could offer at this time.

We are writing to ask that those of you who are working less than full time who are able to increase your clinical sessions consider doing so, to support your colleagues and local communities. We will help with this by cancelling non-clinical activities, including appraisals.

Wherever and however you can help, you are needed

As a qualified and experienced GP who is working in or has left the NHS, your colleagues and local community are in urgent need of your support to join the fight against COVID-19 in a number of different ways that don’t have to involve frontline care.

COVID-19 will put huge additional demand on our NHS and our fellow citizens. We greatly appreciate the time and effort that you already give or have given to the NHS and have put everything in place to ensure giving your support to us is easy and safe for you. You can choose how much time you contribute and are free to stop working at any point.

This isn’t only about clinically treating patients – there is also a need to provide a calm presence with an effect felt way beyond any health or social care setting. Your expertise can help in so many ways, so even if you fall into a group which is considered to be at increased risk, you can still offer valuable support through a variety of roles in secondary, community and primary care.

Your expertise and experience will be valued beyond measure at this challenging time. 

We know that many of you are already working above and beyond to make sure patients and colleagues are supported at this time. If you are willing and able to increase the number of sessions that you work in primary care, we would be extremely grateful for any help that you are able to offer. Please could we ask you to complete the short form attached to let us know if you can help and return to nhsi.medicalgp.returners@nhs.net.

If you have a joint contract between clinical and other roles, please discuss with your employers under what circumstances you could temporarily suspend your external commitments in order to provide more clinical support in your employing organisation.

We want to make sure that if you volunteer to support the NHS at this time that we can agree with you where you can best offer your expertise. In the first instance, we would like to direct any time you can offer into supporting the national NHS COVID-19 Response Service, where there is currently an urgent need for additional capacity. Supporting the service will be done remotely, by telephone or online, from home.

As you can imagine, we are trying to get everything set up to enable individuals who wish support this work to do so at a very fast pace; and whilst we’ve come a long way in a short time we ask for your patience whilst arrangements are finalised. We know that it will be important to be clear about how certain arrangements, such as pay, will work in these circumstances and this is something we’re looking to find a solution to.

What can you do to prepare?

  • So that we can make sure everyone is set up to work as quickly as possible please could we ask you to indicate on the form whether you have equipment which enables you to work remotely (requirements outlined) or whether this is something which would need to be provided for you.
  • We have created a FutureNHS page to provide you with a platform to engage with your colleagues during this time and access a peer support network as needed.

If you have any other query regarding this process, please email the team and we will respond to you as soon as possible. If you prefer a call back, please include a contact telephone number.

Thank you

Dr Nikki Kanani | Medical Director for Primary Care | NHS England and NHS Improvement

Dr Richard Vautrey | Chair | British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee

Dr Martin Marshall | Chair | Royal College General Practitioners