Letter to GPs on the register but not on the performers list



Publication approval reference: C0017

24 March 2020

Dear Doctor

COVID-19 represents the greatest challenge the NHS has faced since its creation and we have been moved by how many doctors have come forward to ask how they can contribute. We want to extend our heartfelt thanks for the work you have already done for the NHS. We are writing to ask for your help in these unprecedented times, and to let you know how those who are in a position to help can do so. We understand that some of you will be involved in providing NHS clinical services outside of the primary care setting – in which case, thank you.

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 a registered GP who has left the Performers List but remain registered with the GMC, to ask whether there is any additional support you could offer at this time.

As well as work in traditional practice settings, we need more doctors to help staff phone lines and provide video consultations; and to work in a variety of other settings that do not require face to face patient contact.

Wherever and however you can help, you are needed

As a qualified and experienced GP who has either temporarily or permanently 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 have already given 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. Your contract will reflect standard terms and conditions such as working hour protections, pay arrangements, and annual leave entitlement.

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.

Understandably, you will have important questions to ask before making your decision, whether that be around your own health and wellbeing, professional indemnity, pensions or remuneration. We have aimed to answer many of these here but if you have any further queries, do please contact us.

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

If you have capacity and wish to offer your support to the COVID-19 response service working within primary care, in addition to GMC registration you will need to be reincluded on the England Medical Performers List. In order to do this please could we ask you to complete the short form we have developed (attached) and return it to england.erplists@nhs.net. This will allow us to get you back onto the List as an Emergency Registered Practitioner. We aim to approve your application within 24 hours to enable you to be available to offer support at the earliest opportunity. When you have received your confirmation of inclusion on the List you will be able to work immediately.

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 to return to 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. In normal circumstances access to a Pensions Scheme would be offered to new employees. We are expecting that you will want to opt out of any pension arrangements to minimise the administration around this Scheme and bringing you back into the clinical workforce at a time of national need.

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 also collated the key training modules which we think will help you to prepare for returning, once available this can be accessed here.
  • 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 england.erplists@nhs.net and we will respond to you as soon as possible. If you prefer a call back, please include a contact telephone number.

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

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

Dr Martin Marshall | Chair | Royal College of General Practitioners